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by RestonNow.com — October 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 59 Comments

Major upgrades to swimming pools are proposed in the budget that is under discussion by the Reston Association Board of Directors.

Expenses for work on the RA pool facilities included in the proposed 2018-2019 Capital Projects List total: $362,378 for swimming pools and $287,639 pool buildings in 2018; and $972,209 for swimming pools and $158,256 for pool buildings in 2019.

All 15 RA pool facilities have projects listed in the proposed list. By far the most expensive is work on the Lake Thoreau pool, totaling just over $1 million.

The $1.8 million in proposed work on all pool facilities equates to 26.6 percent of the $6.7 million funding allotted for the Capital Projects List. The proposed budget also allots a total of $2.9 million for the Repair and Replacement Reserve (RRR) Fund, out of the $14.3 million in total overall expenses.

Some other big ticket items on the project list include:

  • $2,321,359 for lakes, ponds and dams
  • $465,000 for boat docks at Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau
  • $406,658 for tennis courts
  • $379,318 for asphalt trails
  • $313,658 for vehicles and equipment

The next opportunity for Restonians to provide feedback to RA directors about the biennial budget is this Sunday. The RA is hosting a “community drop-in” at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m.

The RA Board has been discussing the budget since this summer in order to reach agreement before a November deadline. Sridhar Ganesan, RA Board at-large director and treasurer, questioned the various costs of the swimming pool facility repairs during some of those discussions, including at a special budget session last month (video).

“Plumbing in one facility isn’t going to be the same costs as the other, just because of the differences in configuration and size,” Garrett Skinner, RA director of capital improvement planning and projects, said in response. “All of those numbers were also vetted through contractors. Especially the pool buildings and swimming pool members. We had contractors come out and go physically through each one of the sites, look at what we have scheduled that needs to be done and determine costs based on that.”

Skinner, who was hired in January, also emphasized that some of the repairs were not anticipated in the association’s capital reserve study the was last performed in 2015. The study tracks needed maintenance and upgrades for RA-owned facilities. Instead, the repairs on the swimming pool facilities were proposed to be done during the next two years because the systems had broken down in some way.

“We’re doing it because it wasn’t in the reserve study for example; you’re doing it because something broke down?” Ganesan asked.

Skinner said Ganesan was correct, adding that the maintenance is necessary.

“Not all of these things were appropriately identified in the reserve study, but we still have to maintain them and repair them,” he said.

The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be Oct. 26 during a regular board meeting. A second hearing is scheduled Oct. 30 during a special meeting of the board. The board will vote on the budget and the annual member assessment rate Nov. 16 during a regular board meeting.

by Dave Emke — October 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm 135 Comments

In an effort to generate more revenue, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted at its meeting last week (video) to consider the end of child care at The Lake House when tabulating the 2018 budget and assessment rates.

Summer camps at The Lake House will continue under the new direction. The Board’s decision also allows for the possibility of using the facility for spring and winter break camps, and for “general ad hoc community programming if that did not interfere with being able to rent out the facility.”

The topic was earlier discussed during a special Board session Sept. 18.

Eliminating the afterschool care at the facility will allow for more hours to be designated for rentals, the Board decided at its Sept. 28 meeting. According to the Reston Association website, The Lake House’s rental rates range from $100 to $275 an hour.

While an estimated 647 families participate in camps at The Lake House, only about two dozen children go to The Lake House after school for the “Fit Kids” program.

“In order to benefit, 12, 14, 16 families, we are asking 21,075 [households] to pay $6-$7 in additional assessments,” said Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and At-Large director, referring to the difference in assessment rate the projected income from additional rentals would bring. “This facility has cost us between $4.25 and $4.5 million. … As a fiscally responsible Board, I would say we need to recover that money, at a minimum, even ignoring the time value of recovering that money, before we think of opening it up and giving it away free.”

The Board voted earlier this month to move forward with using reserve funds to pay off the loan on the facility, which has struggled to make money and continues to operate at a loss since being purchased and renovated by RA.

One affected parent, Erin Gable, addressed the Board to express her displeasure with their conversation.

“The Lake House is for members, not for corporations,” she said. “I get that a lot of money is still trying to be recovered from The Lake House situation, but this is a service to RA members that can be vitally important.”

CEO Cate Fulkerson also said that several affected parents had sent in letters. In the end, though, the Board determined that Reston Association should not be in the child-care business.

“It’s not that I want to take away your child care, it’s that I fundamentally recognize that we have a ton of members whose $6 is a big deal to them … to service a very small number of kids,” said Victoria White, Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative. “Quite frankly, we’re a homeowners’ association. We’re not a child-care provider.”

Also at its meeting last week, the Board directed staff (video) to include a new position — a post-project approval inspector for the Design Review Board — in the second draft of the 2018 budget. This position, designed to help ensure that repairs and other work done on properties is completed on time and done in compliance with RA covenants, is estimated to add $55,885 (salary and benefits) to the budget. It will have a $2.65 impact on the assessment rate.

Decisions about budget items have not been finalized, as the full 2018-2019 budget is slated to be approved by the board in November.

by Dave Emke — September 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm 31 Comments

Some pool hours that were lost in the 2017 schedule may return in 2018, after recommendations from Reston Association’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC).

During their special budget session Monday afternoon (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward listening to PRAC’s recommendations when setting guidelines for the 2018 pool schedule.

The recommendations are to:

  • Prior to Memorial Day: reinstate Monday-Friday weekday hours at the two open pools
  • Memorial Day through end of school: ensure there is one pool in each district available by 10 a.m. on weekdays
  • Through mid-August: reinstate the “closed day” to just once a week at most pools, as opposed to twice a week
  • Mid-August through first day of school: continue to adjust operating hours at certain pools based on member feedback, and continue to reopen additional facilities for Labor Day weekend.

The suggested changes would add $2.88 to the projected assessment rate for 2018, RA staff has calculated. Restoring all of the pool hours that were cut in this year’s schedule would tack on an additional $1.60.

“The recommendation that is before you, by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, was worked on with staff,” CEO Cate Fulkerson said, addressing a director’s question about concerns with finding seasonal workers for the pools. “Staff believes that it can achieve [these changes, but] it does not believe it can go back to the full-scale set of hours that we had in 2016.”

Members provided feedback about pool hours during listening sessions held by RA directors in May and June. In addition, member feedback on the issue was collected during a feedback session with the Board earlier this month. Fulkerson said about 25 members attended and shared their thoughts.

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) is the Board’s liaison to PRAC. She said she believes the recommended changes address the majority of comments that were received about the schedule.

(more…)

by Dave Emke — September 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm 13 Comments

During a special Monday afternoon session (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward using operating reserves to pay off the remaining $2.4 million on the Lake House loan as the 2018 budget is compiled.

Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and At-Large member, shared information with directors about what he says is a “low-risk” option that would benefit members. CEO Cate Fulkerson said staff “strongly desires” the loan be paid off this year using the reserves.

“These are things we should consider as a Board, but my own perspective is [that] if we cannot put the money to work in other areas, [then] this is like returning money back to the shareholders,” Ganesan said.

Ganesan said RA’s operating reserves have never fallen below $4 million, and that they peak at around $12 million each year as assessments are collected. Given this information, he said, there is little concern associated with funds being taken from the account and used to pay off the loan now.

Ganesan had earlier shared this information with members during a community budget workshop last week. Taking care of the loan would reduce the assessment rate by $8.66 in 2018.

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) asked whether Ganesan and staff had considered making the payoff in multiple stages instead of all at once, if the Board is “nervous” about taking so much from reserves. Ganesan said he believes there is no reason to be uncomfortable about taking the money from reserves in one lump sum.

“You have enough cashflow coming in [from assessments] in order to meet the expenses in case there is [any] problem,” he said. “[Even if] on March 1, only 50 percent of members have paid their assessments — that’s a real problem, that’s a crisis. But even then, we have collected 50 percent of assessments; that’s $7.5 million.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke — September 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 106 Comments

(This article was updated at 6 p.m. to clarify information about interest payments on the loan.)

Speaking to members during a community budget meeting Thursday night, Reston Association’s treasurer made the argument for why the $2.4 million that remains on the Lake House loan should be paid as soon as possible.

Sridhar Ganesan explained to the small crowd at Reston Association headquarters that excess money is available in RA’s operating reserves that may be best used by taking care of the loan once and for all.

“I think the risk is pretty low [and] from a cash-flow perspective, I’m pretty comfortable [paying the loan off],” he said.

If the loan continues to be paid off through 2025, as is currently scheduled, Reston Association will be making payments of about $182,000 each year. In addition, there will be a $1.57 million balloon payment due at the end of the payments. Ganesan said interest rates are likely to increase between now and then as well, and refinancing costs would apply if RA decides to go that route.

Ganesan said that as Reston Association’s operating reserves have never fallen below $4 million — and peak at around $12 million each year as assessments are collected — funds are available to be taken from the account and used to pay off the loan now. Ganesan said interest on the loan collects at about $80,000 per year, while the idle operating reserves only gain about $59,000 in 2016.

Monthly operating spending for RA is about $1.25 million, Ganesan said.

“So the question is, what do we do? … Should we use that [reserve] money, that idle money, to pay off the loan?” Ganesan asked. “This is a question that we need to address, and we’d love to get comments from the public as well.”

Paying off the loan would result in RA’s projected 2018 member assessment rate decreasing by $8.66 per household, Ganesan said, and future assessment rates would benefit from having the loan off the books. The 2018 assessment was projected in the budget’s first draft at $678.

“It [would be] a use of money to pay back the members for the next 10 years,” he said.

Ganesan was asked whether he would have suggested paying for the Lake House property in full from reserve funding at the time of acquisition rather than borrowing the money. He said, if he were comfortable with the investment and the price was right, that “absolutely” would have been his suggestion.

The Lake House is projected to bring in about $143,000 in 2017, well below the $300,000 estimate that was in the budget. Ganesan said its budget projection for 2018 is $230,000 — with about $340,000 in expenses. He said RA is considering changing the way the Lake House operates in order to begin closing that gap, including possible expansion of operating hours and changing to an all-rental model (as opposed to offering programming there).

“Rentals tend to fetch a lot more money than programming,” he said. “So, should we just go to an all-rental model … in order to make sure we make as much money as we can, in order to make sure we get a payback from the investment?”

No decisions on the budget have yet been made.

The RA Board will have a special budget meeting, open to the public, Monday from noon-5 p.m. Members will also have an opportunity to discuss the budget with the Board of Directors at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house. Public hearings on the final draft of the budget will take place Oct. 26 and Oct. 30, and it is due to be finalized at the Board’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Thursday’s community meeting was recorded by Reston Association staff and will be made available on its YouTube channel soon.

by Dave Emke — September 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Lake Anne Concert Series Ends Tonight — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will wrap up tonight with a show from Texas Chainsaw Horns, an R&B group, from 7-9 p.m. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]

Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]

Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]

2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]

File photo courtesy Karen Raffel

by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

As the Reston Association Board of Directors continues to work on the 2018-19 budget, RA members are encouraged to participate in a budget-development community meeting next week hosted by RA’s treasurer.

Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate the meeting Thursday, Sept. 14 from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.”

Two more budget work sessions, open to the public, are slated for Monday, Sept. 18, from noon-5 p.m. and from 7:30-10 p.m. Members will also have an opportunity to discuss the budget with the Board of Directors at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house.

The final draft of the 2018-19 budget is to be presented at the Board’s Sept. 28 meeting. There will then be a pair of public hearings on the budget in late October, as well as a community input opportunity at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house event. Approval of the operating and capital budgets, and the 2018 assessment rate, is scheduled to take place at the Board’s November meeting.

The 2018-2019 budget development process began in February with the adoption of the biennial budget development calendar.

by Dave Emke — August 23, 2017 at 10:15 am 24 Comments

Reduced pool hours in the 2017 schedule drew the ire of many in the Reston community.

Now that the season is nearing its end, those members and others will have the opportunity to share feedback from their summer experiences.

The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be made available on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue). They will be collecting member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018.

This year, no pools were open on weekdays prior to Memorial Day. (In 2016, both the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools were open from 1-7 p.m. each weekday beginning May 14.) Through June 23, only four pools were open on weekdays, with one (Glade) open only three hours a night.

In addition, as school is starting next week — one week earlier than in past years — North Shore and Ridge Heights will be the only two pools open the week preceding Labor Day, from 4-7 p.m. each evening. However, RA has announced that Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will both be opened for Labor Day weekend.

North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open on weekends and weeknights through Sept. 24.

Mike Leone, communications director for Reston Association, told Reston Now in April that the 2017 schedule was developed as part of an effort to “identify significant cost savings.”

“During the 2017 budget development process, the Board directed staff to identify significant cost savings in the budget to accommodate other strategic goals. Based on facility usage data collected over the past three years that shows a decline in pool attendance as well as feedback from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors approved pool schedule options by which the proposed aquatics budget could be reduced while still serving the interests of the membership as a whole.”

Members brought up concerns about the pool schedule during general member input sessions earlier this year. Those suggestions are being considered by the RA Board of Directors as part of their budget process.

Anyone who has input to share but is unable to attend the Sept. 10 event is invited to email comments to [email protected].

The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee is scheduled to make a report on the issue to the Board of Directors at a budget work session Sept. 18.

by Dave Emke — August 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 12 Comments

The search for savings by Reston Association staff has resulted in a $678 proposed assessment rate for 2018.

The figure was discussed during a budget workshop session with the RA Board of Directors on Monday (video/PowerPoint presentation). That number would be a decrease of $42 (5.83 percent) from the 2017 assessment level of $720, which was reduced to $692 using surplus cash.

One of the major factors that influenced the budget development, allowing for the decrease in the proposed rate, is the additional assessment revenue that will be provided by 429 new units at the Sunrise Square and VY developments.

That assessment rate will likely change, though, before the Board finalizes the 2018 operations budget, projected at $14.3 million. The Board has been asked to consider numerous staff and member suggestions which could affect the budget.

One big way it could change depends upon whether the Board decides to pay off the loan on the Lake House. If it does so — at a cost of $182,797 — there will be a reduction of $8.66 in the 2018 assessment rate as a result of no longer making payments.

“Essentially, we’ll be using up our cash to pay off the loan,” Sridhar. “In the corporate world, you give it back to the shareholders, which in this case is the members.”

The 2018 budget currently on the table has the Lake House being maintained on the status quo, through programming and rentals while making payments on the loan. That would result in a net loss of more than $190,000, according to the projection. Other options on the table include continuing status quo for six months and then moving to only rentals, or to use the facility for rentals only. With those latter options, along with paying off the loan, the Lake House is projected to represent a net profit in the 2018 budget.

CEO Cate Fulkerson said staff “highly recommends” the Board pay off the loan at the end of this year.

“I am looking forward to that conversation, because I think that there is a lot of area where the Board can make a positive impact on the community, both financially and through programming,” said Sherri Hebert, Board president.

In addition to bringing in in-house legal support, the cost of which Fulkerson said would be canceled out by the savings from reducing outside legal services, the Board is also being asked to consider other staffing additions.

Anna Varone, director of covenants administration, asked the Board to consider adding a post-DRB project approval inspector. This position is estimated to add $55,885 (salary and benefits) to the budget, with a $2.65 impact on the assessment.

“We’ve been challenged by having projects that have been approved by the DRB and not having someone that’s been able to go and inspect after the member has installed the project,” Varone said. “We’ve not had the resources to go out and ensure that the member has installed the project correctly.”

Mike McNamara, deputy director of maintenance, said the Board should consider adding two seasonal workers to address litter control. This would cost about $40,000 (salary and supplies), with an impact of $1.93 on the assessment.

At a meeting last week, the Board was presented a potential $2.82 million Capital Projects budget.

A community meeting on the budget development process is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. The Board will then hold further budget work sessions, along with a joint meeting with Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, on Monday, Sept. 18.

The final drafts of the capital projects and operations budgets are to be presented Sept. 28, with public hearings in October and the approval in November.

by Dave Emke — August 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Budget Work Session Tonight — The Reston Association Board of Directors will have its second budget work session tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The topic of tonight’s session will be the 2018 and 2019 operating budgets. The meeting will be broadcast live on RA’s YouTube channel. [Reston Association]

Herndon High School Parking Update — Construction at Herndon High School will severely limit the number of available parking spaces this school year. A parking pass “lottery” is currently underway. [Herndon High School]

FCPD Offers Condolences After Chopper Crash — The Fairfax County Police Department helicopter had just brought Gov. Terry McAuliffe to Charlottesville on Saturday when a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed nearby, killing two officers. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Center for Innovative Technology Up for Sale — The 26-acre campus adjacent to the Dulles Toll Road and the Silver Line’s future Innovation Center station is on the market as of today. It is currently home to nearly 20 companies, many of whom have leases set to expire in 2019. [Washington Business Journal]

Free Disaster-Response Training Available — The next available Community Emergency Response Team class is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Aug. 30 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy. There are two sessions each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, that run until Sept. 27. The class is 28 hours in length, plus the final practical exercise. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by Dave Emke — August 8, 2017 at 10:15 am 14 Comments

During a work session Monday (video) with the Reston Association Board of Directors, representatives of RA’s Capital Projects department broke down expenditures scheduled for 2018 and 2019.

Just over $2.8 million is budgeted for projects in the coming year. The highest-ticket item is dredging of Lake Thoreau (about $500,000), while other top costs include work on asphalt trails (over $186,000) and lighting for the North Hills tennis courts ($156,000).

Looking forward to 2019, several more high-cost items help the budget go up to nearly $4 million. This includes continued work on the dredging of Lake Thoreau ($646,000) and the asphalt trails (over $192,000). In addition, over $875,000 is budgeted for renovation of the Lake Thoreau pool facility, after about $110,000 for planning in 2018.

The Board approves its Capital Projects and Operating budgets every two years.

Garrett Skinner, capital projects director, said the 10-year study of the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund is being used in an effort to ensure that assessments don’t spike in years that larger capital projects are planned.

“We know we can still execute the work in that year without necessarily asking residents to pay significantly higher assessments just to execute what we know we need to get done,” Skinner said. “The intent was to make sure there wasn’t a significant impact on the residents to the assessment value if you can kind of make it … a consistent steady amount in terms of the capital contribution to the assessment, so when we get to those significant years, the blow isn’t right at once or a surprise to anyone.”

About $6.3 million in reserve fund balance is projected to be carried over into 2018, Skinner said, with about $1.6 million being unencumbered. To get to those numbers, the Board is being asked to fund the reserve in the amount of $2.9 million, which was already approved by the Fiscal Committee.

The Board is also being asked to consider a number of additional capital projects that have been suggested by members. Each was listed for directors along with an estimated cost and what that impact it would have on the assessment.

Next Monday, the Board will have another work session on the 2018 and 2019 Operating Budget.

Screenshot via Reston Association YouTube channel

by Dave Emke — August 7, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Flash Flood Watch in Effect — The National Weather Service says multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected today with localized heavy rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible. [NWS Alert]

RA Budget Work Session Tonight — The Reston Association Board of Directors will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) for a work session on the 2018-2019 Capital Projects & Budget Plan, as well as the Five-Year Strategic Capital Projects Plan. [Reston Association]

Volunteers Needed for Senior Olympics — The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics is looking for volunteers ages 16 and over to support the games, Sept. 9-20. The annual event is a celebration of fitness, camaraderie and living healthy longer. Over 50 events are scheduled at 20 venues. Anyone interested in helping should email [email protected] or call 703-403-5360. [Northern Virginia Senior Olympics]

by Dave Emke — August 3, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

The Reston Association Board of Directors will meet throughout the month of August to work toward drafting the 2018-19 biennial budgets.

Monday, RA staff will provide an overview to the board on the draft 2018-19 Capital Projects & Budget Plan, along with the Five-Year Strategic Capital Projects Plan. The following Monday, Aug. 14, the Board will receive and provide comments on CEO Cate Fulkerson’s first draft of the proposed 2018 and 2018 Operating Budgets.

At a Monday, Aug. 28 session, directors are scheduled to consider the Decision Points presented within the drafted Operating and Capital budgets. They are also to provide guidance to staff about what should and should not be included in the second draft of the budgets.

Each of the three August sessions is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

Directors heard a presentation at their meeting last week on the results of community engagement workshops where input on budget priorities, among other issues, was provided. The Board has been asked to consider incorporating the feedback provided through the community listening sessions into its budget development process for the coming year.

Sridhar Ganesan, At-Large director, said he would like to see more such listening sessions held before the budget is finalized.

“I think we will be doing some public sessions, [and] I hope to do substantive ones so that people can actually give feedback on it,” he said. “For example, ‘These are the projects we’re proposing — how do you react to that?’ [It’s about] actually having a way to get real data back from the people.”

The process is scheduled to continue with another work session in September and the final draft presented at the Board’s Sept. 28 meeting. There will then be a pair of public hearings on the budget in late October, followed by approval of the budgets and the 2018 assessment rate at the Board’s November meeting.

by Dave Emke — July 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm 26 Comments

Giving his first full report to the Reston Association Board of Directors (video), treasurer and At-Large director Sridhar Ganesan broke down the figures for the first half of 2017.

Among the figures shared by Ganesan was $16.7 million in year-to-date revenue, 86 percent of which ($14.4 million) is from assessments. That number is up from $16.0 million at the same time last year, a change Ganesan attributed to an increased assessment rate from 2016.

One budget item that isn’t bringing in as much money as expected, Ganesan reported, is the Lake House. The facility has brought in about $80,000 as of the end of June, only slightly more than half of what was projected ($150,000).

“As I understand, it’s really because of scheduling conflicts, in terms of programs versus corporate and other rentals,” Ganesan said. “They’re still working through the scheduling issues, but you are going to see this difference flowing throughout the year.”

The Lake House, purchased by RA in 2015 for $2.65 million, is rented out for activities including weddings, corporate functions, retreats, workshops and conferences.

Lake House expenses as of the end of June have been about $126,000, Ganesan said.

“Part of the reason is going to be that a lot of those costs are on a fixed basis, so you really can’t pull them back even if you’re having some revenue challenges,” he said.

RA CEO Cate Fulkerson said programming changes are being considered for next year.

“The current programming hasn’t changed yet [but] we are reflecting some different programming as we go into 2018,” she said. “So there will be some decision points for the Board there, but we’ve adjusted based on our experience in the first six months.”

Later in Thursday’s meeting, a pair of capital projects advanced.

The Board approved the release $1.35 million in remaining project funds for the Central Services Facility renovation, which had been put on hold last year until the controversial Lake House purchase was independently reviewed. In addition, the Board voted to form a Hook Road Recreation Area working group, which will explore ways to enhance the facility within budget constraints set by the Board.

by Dave Emke — June 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 5 Comments

Input from community members on the Reston Association budget for FY2018-19 can still be submitted through June 30.

Numerous members, however, have already submitted suggestions that have been made public on the RA website. Some of the more prevalent suggestions that have been made so far include:

  • the need to dredge Lake Thoreau on schedule, which residents of the Lakewinds Cluster say needs to be “treated as a mandatory obligation, not as a discretionary matter subject to the vagaries of the RA annual budget process.”
  • restoration of pool hours, which one resident said should involve “expanding or getting more creative with recruiting efforts [of lifeguards] instead of giving up and cutting schedule entirely.”
  • the addition of permanent bathrooms at Hook Road Recreation Area and at other tennis courts, which several residents say is especially necessary for older users of the courts.
  • considering stopping maintenance of the grass in street medians, which former Board of Directors member Lucinda Shannon said “is the county’s responsibility and most of us don’t think they need to be mowed all the time.”

Check out the full list of member suggestions so far at the Reston Association website.

According to the Board of Directors’ budget development calendar, the board will hear a presentation on the survey results from Community Engagement Advisory Committee at the July 27 meeting. Budget workshops will follow in August and September, with public hearings in October and the budget to be approved in November.

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