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RA’s Latest 2018 Assessment Proposal: $681

In its most recent public hearing on the proposed budget for 2018, held on Monday evening (video here), members of the Reston Association Board of Directors proposed yet another new assessment rate of $681 for residents.

The rate would equal a decrease of $39 from the 2017 initial proposed rate of $720, which was later reduced to $692 only through the spending of around $550,000 in reserve cash.

Previously, in the first draft of the budget, the assessment rate had been proposed at $678.

On Monday evening, board treasurer and at-large director Sridhar Ganesan said a few changes had brought it back up roughly $3 to $681. Those changes included the decision to pay off the loan on the Lake House renovations using reserve cash, which shaved $8.66 off assessment rates, and changes to the RA pool schedules he said they made in response to resident feedback, which added another $2.88 back on to the rate.

“There was a lot of public request from a pool schedule request. We changed that – we brought a lot of it back to around what the 2016 levels were,” Ganesan explained.

Ganesan said other cost-saving measures had initially allowed the directors to get assessments all the way down to $670, but after the first few budget work sessions and last week’s first public hearing, more changes were made. Those included adding staff coverage for more litter clean-up and the handling of Design Review Board covenants requests, as well as the adding of an additional Parks and Recreation staff member. In addition, Ganesan said healthcare costs for some employees went up slightly with the recent annual enrollment period.

“So, with some changes up and some changes down, we ended up at $681,” he finished.

Only one resident showed up for the public hearing portion of the evening. The woman asked for more maintenance of tennis courts due to high usage, including repaving and cleaning of mold and slime from the courts, which she said are a slipping hazard. Additional lighting was also requested, particularly at courts in the south part of Reston.

Furthermore, the woman asked for a feasibility study for the addition of indoor tennis options.

“It’s something our tennis community has been wanting for a long time,” she said, pointing out that it would allow for year-round lessons and exercise opportunities for residents.

Following the public comments, the meeting was adjourned.

The final vote on the 2018 budget and assessment rate is scheduled to take place at the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 16.

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County Supervisors Approve Budget With Few Changes, Increased Spending For Schools

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) officially adopted its budget for FY2018 on Tuesday, with a 2.79-percent increase in funding for schools and nearly $2 million in additional funding for assistance to those suffering from mental illnesses.

County supervisors also voted to keep real estate taxes at the same rate of $1.13 per $100 assessed value of a property.

In a statement released around 11 a.m. Tuesday, following the BOS meeting, Chairman Sharon Bulova said “few changes” were made to the proposed budget that was previously advertised.

Though it falls roughly $47 million short of what education advocates told the County they needed, the superviors approved a 2.79-percent increase in funding for schools, bringing Fairfax County Public Schools’ annual budget to $2.17 billion for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. The increase is equivalent to an additional $53.4 million over FY2017.

In total, funding for schools is equal to 52.8 percent of the County’s total annual budget, Bulova said.

Another area that will see increased spending in FY2018 is the county’s new “Diversion First” program for those suffering with mental illness.

The program aims to divert individuals with mental illness away from jail and into treatment programs.

“In 2016, 375 people were diverted from potential incarceration, and I am proud to continue supporting this effective public safety and human services initiative,” Bulova said.

Bulova said, looking ahead, FY2019 will likely see even more budget challenges, particularly in areas like schools, housing, human services, the environment, and Metro.

“Metro is anticipated to require a significant increase in funding from local jurisdictions to promote safe and reliable service delivery,” she said. “As always, Fairfax County will remain vigilant to any future changes that may impact the local budget in the upcoming fiscal year.”

Read more about the county’s adopted budget on the Fairfax County Government website.

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