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The Reston Association Board of Directors approved the 2018/2019 biennial budget, and with that set the annual assessment rate at $682, which represents a $10 decrease from last year’s fee and is the first time in Reston’s history where the assessment has been reduced from the previous year. The association’s total budget for 2018 will be $18 million, as approved by the board Thursday night.
Last year, the board opted to use $550,000 in reserve cash to lower the actual assessment from $720 to $692. Even with the use of the reserve cash to pay down the rate, the 2017 members’ assessment was $35 more than in 2016, largely due to investments in technology, maintenance improvements and increased involvement in land-use matters.
This year, the board called for operational cost-cutting and other measures to lower the fee. Those measures include restructuring the merit pay system for RA staff and increasing the health insurance copayment for all employees. The board also reduced outside legal costs by approving an in-house counsel position.
In addition, the board decided to pay off The Lake House loan and to utilize the facility primarily to generate more revenue through rental income opportunities rather than using the property mostly for RA programming. The Lake House, which was purchased by RA in 2015 and is considered an ideal waterfront venue for corporate outings, weddings and other functions, is expected to produce about $224,000 from rental income next year. By the association paying off the loan early, each RA member will save $8.66 on their assessment. Another $6.17 will be saved with the projected increase in rental income.
Similar to other community associations, most of RA’s revenue comes from assessments. The association will collect more assessment revenue in 2018 through the addition of 429 new residential units joining RA. The extra money anticipated to be brought into the association from these new units also contributed to the assessment rate being lowered for 2018.
In all, RA staff has been directed by board members to increase non-assessment revenue by 10 percent while decreasing operating costs by 5 percent. Non-assessment revenue includes proffer and easement income as well as money brought into the association through various sponsorships, advertising, sales and facility rentals.
After receiving feedback at community meetings and public hearings over the last few months, the RA board chose to reinstate most pool hours to 2016 levels. Existing plans to repair or upgrade other facilities and association amenities in 2018 are expected to move forward under capital projects protocols.
Based on a recommendation from South Lakes District Director Julie Bitzer, the board also agreed to having RA staff explore the feasibility of installing fishing docks at Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau while also considering potential improvements for hand-carry boat access to all four Reston lakes.
Click here to read more about the budget.
The annual assessment is due Jan. 1, 2018. Bills will be sent to members in December. Only owners of residential property in Reston pay the annual assessment. The association also offers a six-month installment plan.