The decision came after public hearings on Oct. 13 and Nov. 10 to discuss the budget, and a board approved motion on Oct. 28 to defer Barton Hill tennis court upgrades to the 2023 budget. The initial proposed assessment fee increase was for 6% to $764.
The motions approved by the board included the reallocation of $195,667 earmarked for the Lake Newport tennis project to the Reserve, Repair and Replacement Fund, and the reallocation of $435,000 in positive variances from previous capital budgets to the 2022-2023 capital budget. The board also approved utilizing $500,000 of existing operating funds to fund the 2022-2023 capital budget.
Several personnel moves are included in the budget’s coverage. Those include two new positions, the director of environmental resources and a capital projects manager.
The budget also includes a 3.5% performance-based merit increase which was approved during a Nov. 10 special meeting of the board. About two-thirds of the operating costs are personnel, and merit increases were frozen this year. However, acting CEO Larry Butler previously suggested that the merit increases would help retain RA staff.
The board identified several key drivers in non-personnel costs as well. Included was an approximate $100,000 increase due to inflation across building materials and supplies, and an increase in accounting services due to anticipated higher credit card expenses.
There is an expected reduction of printing and advertising costs due to greater utilization of digital media for communications, and election expenses are also dropping as costs are not expected to be as high.
Butler, a long-time employee of RA, was formerly the chief operating officer nd actually was the acting CEO once before, prior to the hiring of Lynch in 2018.
All of this is to say that Butler understands RA and the challenges that come with running one of the largest community associations in the country.
It’s also a complicated time for RA, with the organization in the midst of budget season, possibly increasing assessments, cutting capital projects, and still dealing with the effects of the pandemic.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Reston Now (RN): Since you took over as acting CEO in early September, what’s been taking most of your time? What have been the challenges so far?
Larry Butler: What’s taking the most time is working through the budget process, which is always time consuming. The key part there is trying to get a [grasp] from the broader community on what the priorities are for the coming year. There’s obviously a lot of opinions on what those priorities should be and how we fund those priorities.
RN: And what have you heard from the community so far?
LB: Not as much as we would have liked. I would have thought we have had more people participating in the September board meeting. We’ve had listening and work sessions… and very, very few members are jumping on that.
We do a pretty good job of getting information out there. One person [told me] maybe that means people are okay with the job that RA is doing in the community. Maybe that leads to some apathy, at least regarding the budget.
RN: In terms of the budget, an assessment increase is being considered. Why is that and is there any way to avoid it?
LB: We are a staff-driven organization, a service organization. Whether that is our central service facility, taking care of all of our myriad facilities throughout the community, or our programing staff and intelligence, we are staff-driven. What I’ve put into the budget draft is a 3% merit pool increase because there was no merit increase in 2021. I feel strongly that’s a very important thing. It’s a very difficult job market right now.
Insurance costs are also going up, that’s something we must absolutely pay for. There’ll be three new positions as well. We’re going to be adding into the next budget draft a senior environmental position at the RA Board’s direction. We are currently operating without three of our senior leadership team. We don’t have a CEO, our IT director resigned, and October 20 is the last day for our director of Human Resources. There’s also inflation.
One of our considerations to help offset these costs and increasing assessments… is looking at our fiscal position in terms of the repair and replacement fund as well as some operating surplus going forward in 2022, as well as possibly 2023.
RN: If assessments do increase, how does that impact the affordability of living in Reston? There’s been some discussion about working with the Friends of Reston on providing help to those who can’t afford the assessments.
LB: We haven’t fully fleshed out how that could work yet. It’s a difficult situation because when one buys into or even rents in Reston, it’s contractual in nature. We don’t have the ability in our governing documents to afford relief. We’ll have more discussion about it, certainly with the Friends of Reston. The difficulty there too is that there’s limited funding there as well. We may be able to assist a handful of people, but not hundreds.
RN: There’s been a lot of talk about capital improvement projects, renovations, and possibly “repurposing” of pools. Where is the discussion currently at with that and how is a decision made on that?
LB: In terms of big projects, we are not in much different position than in years past. But, sure, none have been like Lake Thoreau Pool, which is much more complicated because it’s next to a lake… that will be the biggest capital project we’ve ever done in terms of cost.
In terms of smaller projects on pools and tennis courts, what we are finding now is that it makes more sense if you are going to go spend a [few] hundred thousands of dollars on a pool, that might be a time to rethink the shape. Or could it be something else? I think we’ve done a really good job of managing that and managing the expectations.
Anytime you bring up the notion of closing recreation facilities, whether it’s a pool or a tennis court, you get a lot of input. Those four pools [being considered for repurposing] have historically really low usage, but cost is the same to maintain and repair. We’ve heard a lot from those [communities] around those four pools. It’s really about starting a conversation about what’s possible.
In the end, if that conversation leads to we would like our pool exactly the way it is, so be it. That’s what we will program for and budget for. It was really just to get that conversation on the table.
RN: What’s the status update on the process of finding a new permanent CEO?
We are finalizing the contract with the search firm. Hopefully, that will be done [soon]. The search firm will be putting together a profile based upon input from the RA board… like what skill sets, traits, and experiences are wanted. Then, we will kick it off in earnest.
There’s not an established timeline, at least not until the board meets with the search firm. Typically, a search like this could take four to five months.
RN: Any last thoughts you’d like to share?
LB: We have public hearings on the budget coming up on October 13 and November 10. It would be great to have people come out and share their thoughts.
We know people are so busy and they get most engaged when something impacts them really close to their homes, like the pool discussion, but talking about the more nebulous things that don’t impact them exactly where they live, it’s harder for them to get excited about that.
Following COVID-19’s effects on the wedding industry, Reston Association expects its Lake House amenity — a venue especially geared toward wedding events — will become more of a destination spot in coming years.
The community building — like other wedding and event venues — had revenue “significantly impacted” in 2020 but could bring in over $135,000 this year, according to the association. But it comes after RA has sunk millions of dollars into the property.
A wedding expo on Nov. 7 looks to feature the venue as well as vendors in the greater Washington area that offer entertainment, catering, bridal fashions, photography and cakes.
“The Wedding Expo is an opportunity to showcase The Lake House to not only Reston Association members but also others from the DMV looking to book their wedding or celebration at a beautiful lake view venue,” RA spokesperson Mike Leone said in a statement.
No new capital expenditures are planning in upcoming years, according to a capital projects plan; a dock could be added, but there are currently no plans to do so, Leone also stated.
RA projects operating revenues to increase to $185,000 in 2022 and $195,000 in 2023, according to a budget draft, while the association seeks to reduce costs to around $39,100 and $40,600 for those years.
The capital projects plan, which was presented last month and runs from 2022-2026, notes the following:
The Lake House, which was built in 1983, purchased by RA in 2015, and then renovated in 2015, facilitates as a community rental building for RA. The 3.47-acre property … is located immediately adjacent to Lake Newport and offers lakeside views to members and guests. It is ideally suited for small to mid-sized weddings and celebrations, corporate functions, workshops, conferences, and private functions with a capacity size of 145 people. … Future plans for this facility include the addition of a dock extending from the covered deck into Lake Newport, an event tent, and a dedicated public address system.
The facility has drawn controversy throughout the years after the association bought it for $2.6 million in 2015 and repairs were three times more than expected, leading to an independent review of the asset.
The RA Board of Director could pursue the dock addition in upcoming budgets, though, including the current budget.
A first public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Wednesday, followed by meetings on the process throughout October before a second public hearing on Nov. 10.
The board is slated to approved the budget and set the assessment for 2022 on Nov. 18.
Pfizer Booster Shots Now Available — Beginning today, the Fairfax County Health Department will begin providing booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine. Four groups of people are eligible for the dose. [Fairfax County Government]
Reston-based Company Makes List of Top Employers – Maximus, a government service provider, was included in Forbes’ annual list of America’s best employers for diversity. JLL, a business services and supplies company, topped the list. [Forbes]
Local Tennis Courts Closed — The tennis courts at Lake Anne will be closed today and tomorrow due to court painting, according to Reston Association. [RA]
Public Hearings on RA Budget Set — The Board of Directors will hold public hearings on its proposed budget on Oct. 13 and Nov. 10. The budget is currently under development. [RA]
Reston Association is turning to the public to guide the future of the Shadowood Recreation Area.
The area, which is on Springwood Drive, houses an aging 20-meter pool that has been closed for two years. The 15-question survey asks residents about future plans for the aging facility. Options include renovation, replacing with a different recreational amenity, or reopening as is.
Shadowood is among four pools — including Golf Course Island, Newbridge and Tall Oaks — that are on the bill for repurposing due to low usage. Staff made the suggestion in May.
In-person open houses are planned at the closed pool on Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. and Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. A virtual meeting via Zoom is also planned on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. The survey will remain open through Nov. 1.
Suggested new uses for the pool include a park with a picnic area, playground, basketball court, sand volleyball, and a pavilion and grill.
RA is poised to spend around $40 million to run, maintain and address capital improvement needs on its 15 pools and more than 50 tennis courts.
The discussion follows a long-anticipated evaluation of RA’s recreational facilities. The study by the Recreational Facility Work Group found a major increase in funding is needed to address capital improvement work at decades-old facilities.
In an email, Mike Leone, RA’s spokesman, told Reston Now that RA’s Board of Directors will meet with the workgroup to review survey findings and other community feedback.
While no firm timeline has been set, the feedback will guide the development of next year’s capital and operating budgets.
“The board is interested in learning what members would like to see happen with the pool and that recreation area,” Leone said.
Pool usage has dropped by over 37 percent over the last decade, according to the workgroup. Over the last ten years, it has cost around $9.6 million to maintain and operate four of the now-closed pools with the least frequent usage as of 2019.
Reston Association’s Board of Directors narrowly approved a $10 increase in next year’s assessment Thursday night. Four members of the nine-member board — Ven Iyer, Sarah Selvaraj-D’Souza, Bob Petrine, and Mike Collins — voted against the proposal due to financial concerns.
The funding gap between current revenues and future expenses was especially apparent in this year’s budget negotiations as RA debated how to fund the renovation of Lake Thoreau.
RA CEO Hank Lynch originally pitched a budget with no assessment increase in order to account for the impact of COVID-19 on members. But RA’s Board directed Lynch to explore other assessment options up to $728 in order to account for future expenses and reduce the likelihood of a major fee increase in 2022.
Additional revenue from member fees will be used for ADA-additions to Temporary Road and accounts for the lease of RA’s headquarters, which will be reflected as an average booked rate for ten years instead of actual costs for 2021. Other funds above $80,000 would be placed in RA’s operating reserve for future use.
Assessment invoices will be mailed to members next month and are due Jan. 1. RA plans to launch a new system for members to pay fees online and “will be the most convenient way for members to pay their assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a news release.
The budget also does away with processing fees for online payments and accounts for an. 86 percnet increase in funding for lake treatment at Lake Thoreau and other Reston lakes.
RA’s Central Services Facility will also reduce the number of times it mows Virginia Department of Transportation roads in Reston. Currently, VDOT’s contract with RA pays for three mowing cycles on an annual basis.
Other features of the budget include:
- No staff merit pay increases
- Full-time headcount reduced by one position
- Three current and vacant positions will remain vacant until the end of March
- Next year’s communications, marketing and public relations budget is reduced by 9.5 percent
- IT reduces the budget by $195,000 by moving to Cloud and not filling 2020 approved staff positions
- Election budget increases by 14.6 percent to increase voter turnout
In addition to Lake Thoreau, the pools at Shadowood and Tall Oaks will be closed next year for capital improvements.
Image via Reston Assoication/YouTube
The Reston Association (RA) still has decisions to make on its 2021 budget, including any potential change to the current $708 member assessment rate.
Lynch did stipulate that the assessment is one of the key points the Board of Directors must still decide on. He said that the fiscal committee for RA has recommended an increase to the assessment of up to $20 for the 2021 budget.
Lynch stated that the fiscal committee suggested there is the potential of an increase of up to $100 for the assessment in 2022. But he said he does not believe there will be that significant of an increase for the 2022 assessment rate.
Robert Petrine, treasurer for the board, clarified the discussion on the potential 2022 assessment rate increase of up to $100.
“There are two major components that are not in the current 2021 budget, which if we look forward is number one is if you implement the salary plan, that’s going to have a material impact,” he said.
“And number two; we’re going to be fully paying on the (headquarters) lease. When you put those in and you also factor in the amount of capital projects that are already in the budget and projected for 2022, in order to have everything balanced, you’re looking at a substantially higher assessment.”
Lynch also discussed the decision point for the board of an operational change with the Central Services Facility (CSF) that mows the Reston roadways and median strips.
CSF is paid $45,000 in an annual contract through the Virginia Department of Transportation to mow Reston’s roadways and median strips three times. However, CSF mows those areas 24 times during the year to maintain Reston’s appearance. The additional mowing costs RA an additional $140,000 above the contract.
Beyond the roadways, CSF also brings in a turf maintenance company to mow many of the ball fields, parks and open spaces. This additional maintenance costs the association over $200,000 annually.
Lynch’s proposal for the board’s consideration includes the following measures to reduce CSF’s 2021 operating costs by $200,000 to $210,000:
- Reduce the number of VDOT highway mows from 24 down to eight.
- Eliminate contracted mowing services used for RA’s ball fields, parks and open spaces.
- Utilizing current full-time CSF staff and five seasonal staff to conduct all RA mowing.
During discussions with RA members following Lynch’s presentation and the boards’ comments, a primary focus fell on RA’s communications budget and, in part, the participation of members in RA’s planning.
While Petrine complimented the board’s participation and the members that joined the discussion, he admonished “the general membership for lack of concern and participation.”
Board member Selvaraj-D’Souza stated that this is where Lynch’s “team is failing” in its communication efforts.
The operating expenses for communications for the 2020 budget was $968,114. In Lynch’s proposal, those expenses increased to $979,373 for 2021.
“When we’re spending a million dollars on communications, we need to be proactive and figure out a way to get our membership to show up,” she said.
“And that’s where we need to look at out of the box ideas, how are we reaching out to them, is our messaging actually being effective. And there needs to be some absolute accountability with that.”
Board member Ven Iyer echoed the suggestions of Selvaraj-D’Souza. Iyer suggested efforts be turned toward “grassroots level participation in order to shape the direction where this organization is headed.”
Lynch defended the communications department’s efforts, stating that he believes “there’s a complete misunderstanding of what communications does.”
He added that with roughly 60,000 members, an “enormous amount of work” is required to serve all the needs and wants of the members.
Board member Mike Collins followed the discussion by stating that RA has had difficulty in member participation for at least the 10 years he’s been in Reston. He also did not recommend that members should assume something is wrong with the efforts of the communications department.
However, Collins did discuss his belief that board members take a look at digging more into those details of the budget next year.
Board president Julie Bitzer concluded the discussion by agreeing with the notion that the board needs more information on the communications to reach a more appropriate “comfort level.” She suggested reviewing more details on the communications budget during the board’s next meeting.
The board will next meet virtually on Nov. 19 via Zoom.
If Reston Association maintains an assessment of $708 for 2021, members could see a fee increase of up to $100 in 2022, according to CEO Hank Lynch’s meeting materials.
RA’s Board of Directors will hold a public hearing tonight to discuss the proposed assessment of $708, which was pitched by Lynch. At the board’s request, RA is considering a possible increase of up to $728. Some board members hope a slight increase this year will prevent higher increases in the coming years.
Much of the budget’s assumptions rest on unclear factors. For example, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is unknown.
An assessment of major capital needs is due from RA’s Recreational Facilities Working Group. The assessment will be used to determine RA’s future capital needs and projects’. Impact on the 2022 assessment rate.
Lynch has proposed deferring many expenses to 2022 and beyond. Roughly $1.3 million in capital work has been deferred to future years. No staff merit pay increases as planned as part of the 2021 budget.
The budget hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. today.
The Reston Association Board of Directors will hold a special meeting on November 4 at 6:30 pm for a Public Budget Hearing.
— Reston Association (@RestonOnline) October 6, 2020
In mid-August, a major and possibly toxic algae bloom blanketed Lake Thoreau following Reston Association’s treatment of an invasive plant in the lake.
The treatment, which RA said was one of several factors that caused the bloom, was conducted much later into the season, making the bloom worse.
Following this issue and subsequent community meetings about lake management, RA CEO Hank Lynch wants to more than double its lake maintenance treatment budget for 2021 budget, which is currently under development. This year’s lake maintenance budget is $31,745, up from $17,103 in 2020’s. budget.
The proposed budget would include up to five algae treatments of Lake Thoreau, up to five algae treatments at Lake Anne, and $18,920 to treat lake Thoreau with sonar pelters in the spring or early summer.
The association also plans to shift from treating the lake with contact herbicides to systemic herbicides earlier in the season to control the hydrilla plant.
“This solution will control the hydrilla before it gets to grow and become a problem in the lake,” according to meeting materials.
The systemic herbicide treatment is much more costly than previously used treatment but will produce more long-lasting results, Lynch said at a Board of Directors’ meeting last week.
RA also hopes to remove water lillies at Lake Newport every few years. Its consultant, Aquatic Environment Consultants, will “continue to monitor to determine the right timing of this treatment,” according to meeting materials.
The removal of primrose and alligator weed at Lake Thoreau on the shoreline and along the dams has also been identified as a pending project. The issue will be addressed based on growing conditions this summer.
The lake will also be stocked with 130 carp — which consume aquatics plants — to help manage the overgrowth of certain aquatic plants like hydrilla. The lake was last stocked in 2017 with 80 carp.
RA will hold another community engagement meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Lake Thoreau and lake environmental health. The meeting will take place online.
Reston Association will hold a Lake Thoreau & Lake Environmental Health Community Engagement Meeting on Wednesday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m.
— Reston Association (@RestonOnline) October 21, 2020
Photo by Jeannine Santoro
Reston Association CEO Hank Lynch is aiming to keep next year’s member assessment rate unchanged at $708.
But at a Board of Directors’ meeting on Thursday night, some members suggested increasing the rate — as done in previous years — in order to keep up with major expenses and other operational needs. Lynch hopes to keep fees stable in order to account for the impact of COVID-19 on its membership.
No staff merit pay increases are proposed in Lynch’s budget, resulting in savings of roughly $208,500.
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do right now,” Lynch said, adding that he discussed the proposal with senior staff, who concurred with his plan.
Board member John Mooney said the “artificially” holding down the rate simply delays more substantial long-term fee increases necessary to keep up with real-time costs.
“It’s artificial. We’re paying with resources from elsewhere,” Mooney said.
Board members Mike Collins also noted that RA’s membership must grow accustomed to fee increases as serious infrastructure challenges come forward due to aging facilities in need of replacement.
To fund the replacement of Lake Thoreau Pool, the board is considering a plan to defer roughly $1.3 million in scheduled 2021 capital expenditures.
“I just don’t see any another way,” Collins said, adding that he “hates” the idea of increasing fees.
The board juggled the possibility of a $20 increase in the coming year, although no number was settled upon.
Mooney suggested that Lynch and his staff consider how a $membership assessment of up to $728 for next year would help meet RA’s costs.
Other budget highlights include:
- Delaying the hire of three vacant positions
- Reducing annual IT expenses by $45,000-$50,000
- Lake maintenance treatments at $31,745
A budget hearing is set for November 4 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. The board plans to indicate that a range of assessments is being considered between $708 and $728.
Photo via Reston Association
Feedback Sought for Reston Association Website — As the association prepares to launch a new website in 2021, a survey aims to gauge how users interact with the current website. Possibilities for consideration also include new features like text messaging, a mobile app, and other online functions. [RA]
Dense Fog Advisory In Effect Until 10 a.m. — The National Weather Service has issued yet another advisory until 10 a.m. today. Drivers should ensure there is adequate distance between vehicles. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
First Budget Hearing Set for November — Reston Association’s Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on the 2021 budget on November 4 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. [RA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Reston Association’s Board of Directors plans to defer $1.3 million in capital work for the upcoming 2021 capital budget.
Although budget deliberations continue, RA staff have identified six projects that will likely be deferred to future years. Plans for deferrals come as nearly $600,000 in capital work has been adjusted or added, including the renovation of Lake Thoreau Pool and general increases in costs for construction and materials.
Plans for Lake Anne Dam, which currently does not meet state safety codes for overtopping Wiehle Avenue during a design flood, could be deferred. Currently, a state committee has been forced to evaluate dam regulations for all structures in Virginia, according to draft meeting materials. The outcome of those discussions could take up to two years to formalize.
“We will maintain our provisional approved status with the state with no penalties enforced,” according to RA meeting materials.
A more comprehensive renovation of the Glade Tennis Court may also require the deferral of that project. Staff found that more work beyond planned that grading and lighting retrofitting is necessary.
Other deferred project include:
- The addition of seven vehicles and mowers
- Lake Newport pool siding
- Glade Pool floor coating, cabinets and counters
- Newbridge cabinets and counters
So far, the $3.45 million draft budget includes the renovation of Lake Thoreau Pool, with project costs being split between 2021 and 2022.
The meeting is set for Thursday, Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Reston Association is taking another look at its finances and budget projections due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a meeting on Thursday, May 21, RA’s Board of Directors will discuss the impact of the pandemic on the budget, revenues, camps, pools, and other items. CEO Hank Lynch is also expected to offer an update on the status of strategic goals recently outlined by the association.
RA expected to see a decline in revenues from The Lake House. The amended 2020 budget also shows expected decreases in allocations for the Walker Nature Center, environmental education, and camp, according to a draft agenda of Thursday’s meeting.
So far, RA has canceled its 2020 summer camps program entirely.
“Based on all uncertainties associated with COVID-19 and feedback we have been receiving from parents of campers, as well as steps taken by other summer camp providers in the Northern Virginia area — Reston Association is canceling its 2020 summer camps program.”
RA pools could see a dramatic decline of 70 percent or more, according to projections in the draft agenda.
“Total pool use will be down significantly… based o near of infection even when use of pools is authorized,” the agenda states.
A $150,000 shortfall is also projected from sponsorship revenues this year.
The association will determine how many pools will open depending on the number of staff that can complete a water rescue test, which cannot be completed online. RA hopes to have enough qualified and certified staff by July 1 to ensure that a minimum of four pools are fully staffed and operational.
It’s also unclear when tennis courts will be open. Depending on when social distancing requirements are relaxed in Northern Virginia, some tennis courts would be open in June. Projected tennis revenue is expected to decrease by 57 percent.
The meeting begins online at 6:30 p.m.
Reston Association says that its internal controls and processes have come a long way since the botched purchase of the Lake House at nearly double its assessed value five years ago.
At a Thursday meeting, RA’s Board of Directors reviewed progress on fifteen recommendations suggested by global advisory firm StoneTurn Group in a $45,000 independent review of the controversial purchase.
Eric Carr, the board’s treasurer and chair of a committee formed to review the purchase, said RA was “not equipped to handle an undertaking and purchase like this.”
“This is why I ran and it was my goal above all other goals to make sure this never happened in the association ever again,” Carr told the board at the meeting. “I think we’re in a good place for that and I think we’ve done largely what the StoneTurn report requested us to do.”
RA purchased the Lake House property from Tetra in 2015. Renovations to transform the property into a community building cost three times more than expected, resulting in requests for independent audits and reviews.
The report found that RA’s governing documents had no defined process to ensure that internal controls and processes were being followed. The group also suggested that RA adopt a policy to improve transparency on items that are discussed in closed sessions without compromising its interests. At the time, RA did not have controls in place to prevent the contracting of an amount in excess of the budget.
Carr said that all but two of the company’s recommendations are either completed or already exist.
One glaring gap — establishing an ethics code — remains. Discussions on establishing the code, which has been underway for nearly two years, are expected to formalize at the board’s meeting in March.
Highlights of steps undertaken in response to recommendations are below:
- General Counsel will continue to review policies as necessary and as directed by the board
- Although staff indicated recommendations to establish “owners of the internal processes” were vague, RA has a resolution governing internal financial controls
- Greater transparency in executive sessions will be pursued so long as it does not contradict POAA rules
- Establishing processes where capital expenditure maximums are calculated and included in the budget
- Clarification of policy to provide guidance if a project exceeds the budget or if the budget estimate is found to be impractical or incorrect
- Preparation of a long-term capital improvement plan that is updated on an annual basis
- Written policies and procedures to evaluate and management capita projects that emphasize key assumptions and estimates
- Ensuring purchase orders and contracts are not issued unless funds are available and allocated within the approved budget
A complete breakdown of StoneTurn’s recommendations and progress made is available online. Board vice president Julie Bitzer requested the progress update.
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr; YouTube
Reston Association member assessments will increase by 2.2 percent next year after the organization’s board adopted next year’s budget last night (Thursday).
The board voted to increase the annual assessment fee from $693 to $708 — a major departure from the nearly five percent increase initially proposed in September. The budget includes across-the-board increases in staff compensation and a net increase of five positions, including staff for social media, covenants administration, IT, and business engagement and sales.
Board director Ven Iyer was the only board member to vote against the budget, which he said grants RA’s staff everything on their wishlist and exhibits the board’s failure to exercise due diligence.
Iyer said the board “failed miserably” by making budgetary decisions that will be called into question in the future.
Board director John Mooney pushed back against Iyer’s comments, noting that he and other board members have worked with staff extensively to finalize the budget.
“It is very sad that that amount of work on all our parts is being called into question,” Mooney said.
This year’s budget accounts for expenses like a $418,000 increase in computer support expenses over last, a $77,000 increase in aquatics, and additional expenses for staff training and development, according to RA’s CEO Hank Lynch.
The budget also anticipates more than $200,000 in revenue from communications initiatives, led in part by the new business engagement and sales manager. RA also hopes that enhancing existing activities like pickleball and Lake Anne Plaza will generate $275,000 in non-assessment revenue. The Walker Nature Center is also expected to grow revenue by 25 percent by offering more educational programs.
Photo via YouTube/Reston Association