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High Maintenance

Reston is 47. I am 47. We're both gonna need some work.

Each April, when Reston celebrates Robert E. Simon's birthday and Reston's birthday, I don't need to do much math.

Reston and I were both born in 1964. We're both 47, and it is getting more expensive to keep up appearances.

Our annual fees will be $565 in 2012. In 2000, they were $375. That's an increase of nearly 60 percent.

There has been lots of griping in the community about the rising costs of assessments. As a citizen of Reston, am I happy to be writing a bigger check? Of course not. But I accept it.

There was a time, say 1989, when I could eat nachos and my skinny jeans fit without a problem. I could stay out all night and show up for work on two hours of sleep and do it all again the next day. I wore cheap clothes and drove a two-seater car.  I had two roommates and lived in Arlington, where my share of the rent was $315 a month.

I am middle aged now. I need an hour of cardio a day for my jeans to fit. I need expensive makeup and lots of sleep. My car has four doors and legroom. Often, my electric bill alone is $315 a month. Although I have not tallied it up, I am certain that some months I spend more than the RA annual assessment amount on personal maintenance.

We both have an aging infrastructure, Reston and I. Pool house roofs, bike path paving, tree pruning, lake dredging. Crow's feet, teeth whitening, cracked heels, muffin top. It's all the same.

Just like gas isn't going to cost $1.75 a gallon again, the days of the $300 annual assessment are gone. My skinny jeans are a couple of sizes up and so are our fees.

Sure, you could live in a place that isn't a Planned Residential Community. You also could jog in traffic instead of on 55 miles of RA paths. You could shell out big bucks for swim clubs and summer camps instead of the pretty reasonably priced RA opportunities.

What's that, you say? You don't have kids and you don't jog? Again, you could live somewhere else and keep your $565 a year.

While I respect political beliefs of all stripes,  I don't get the appeal of Reston for those in favor of smaller government. When you buy a home in Reston, whether it was in 1970 or last week, the transaction can't go to settlement until you receive a big, fat binder from RA that outlines in black and white all the rules about living in this PRC.

There are annual assessment fees. You have to pay them. They may rise. Also, you may not paint your house pink if it is not in the approved pallete and you may not store a boat in your driveway.

In return, you get a bunch of amenities. It's up to you whether you use them, but you can't get out of paying for them.

It would be so nice if Reston and I did not have 47-year-old responsibilities. It would be awesome if the did not need a new water pump and my 28-year-old house didn't need a new heat pump.

It would be wonderful if I could take my 565 bucks and not send it to RA but instead use it for anything from a really good couple of dinners ator perhaps to help my elderly parents. Hey! My teenager doesn't even attend RA day camp anymore? Shouldn't I get an exemption?

I think I will march up to RA and tell them assessments should be $300, I should weigh 125 and my mortgage should be no higher than the rent I paid 22 years ago in South Arlington. I will let you know how that works out.

Then I will go down the street to and pay $150 (without tip) for color and highlights (without those, I would be the same gray as Heron House).

The point is, you can't stop time. But if you want to age well, it's going to cost you.

Frank Sogandares November 25, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Hopefully you'll post your findings since they will reflect considerable effort. It'd be a shame to waste.
Jonathan Erickson November 25, 2011 at 11:10 PM
will do!
Jonathan Erickson November 25, 2011 at 11:31 PM
RESTON ASSOCIATION Budget Summary - 2011 Thats the site for the budget and it only helps to confuse matters.
Karen Goff November 25, 2011 at 11:57 PM
RA would be happy to answer your questions. They are off for the holiday, as am I. Cheers.
Jonathan Erickson November 26, 2011 at 01:21 AM
12 days of vacation 2 days of personal leave and 10 days of sick time who still pays employees for sick time besides RA?
Karen Goff November 26, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Every company I have ever worked for has had a sick leave benefit. I would imagine most companies do.
Jonathan Erickson November 26, 2011 at 03:20 PM
So am I correct in assuming then that one year of employment with the RA gets you 10 sick days, 10 holiday, 10 vacation days and 2 personal days? Also I find a lump sum for salaries nothing for each position do you have a idea where such info would be broken down per position? BTW Good Morning
Karen Goff November 26, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Again, contact RA for more specific info.
Steve L November 26, 2011 at 04:11 PM
The companies I have worked for lump sick days into PTO. The employees prefer this because they now have more vacation days, assuming they stay healthy.
Ellen November 27, 2011 at 04:30 AM
When I moved to this area 12 years ago, I knew that I was moving to Vienna. I knew that Reston was right across the street. I knew that my kids would go to Reston schools which are a part of FCPS. It NEVER occurred to me to research the politics of Reston. I did not know who the founder of Reston was, and I did not know that Reston was "big government". I did not care and I still don't care. Now that I have to deal with Reston, I regret not researching Reston's political orientation. I do think Reston is very pretty with it's abundance of greenery.
Karen Goff November 27, 2011 at 02:36 PM
I am confused. If you live in Vienna, why do you have to deal with Reston? Are you talking about Reston Association? Why would you have to deal with RA if you live in Vienna? As for "Reston schools," all the schools here are FCPS, they are not managed by separate entities, so the same policies, curriculum, etc., are in place across the board. Isn't your problem with FCPS in general then?
Ellen November 27, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Well, I indirectly have to deal with Reston Association. RA controls Reston, and most of the places I go to are in Reston. I figure RA has some influence on my life as a Vienna resident. I hadn't realized when I moved here that my kids would be in the "minority" at Reston schools only because I don't live in Reston. Reston pools, for example, are for residents of Reston. An example would be: My kids are going to school in Reston, most of their friends are in Reston, we join a pool in Vienna and my kids don't know anyone because most of their friends are Reston residents who join Reston pools and are involved in Reston's swim teams. That is just an example of how RA effects non Reston residents. Since Reston is such a planned community and likes it that way, I think it should be autonomous.
Susan Sather November 27, 2011 at 09:42 PM
I live in Reston, my kids go to a local elem. school where half the student population does not live in the neighborhood. Among the local neighborhood students, some live in Deepwood, and others on Fox Mill Woods, both of which have their own pools and swim teams. My kids can go to those pools as guests, or I could pay for a membership, just like you could buy a membership to Reston pools and your kids could swim on RSTA teams, if you wanted. The cities in Fairfax County don't all have autonomous school systems, why should Reston?
Ellen November 27, 2011 at 09:55 PM
I did not know that I could buy a membership to Reston pools.
mTa November 28, 2011 at 02:08 AM
LOL. You, my dear, are brilliant!
Mike Collins November 28, 2011 at 05:19 PM
The entire RA budget is here: http://tinyurl.com/6m2qzlh. The 2012-2013 Draft was passed as final with a few minor changes. Non-resident pool passes range between $345 and $610 depending on family size and whether you play tennis. One card gets you access to 15 pools and/or 48 tennis courts. Visit www.reston.org for more info.
Jonathan Erickson November 28, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Thanks Mike can you tell me how much the CEO, the President and the board members make in salary?
Karen Goff November 28, 2011 at 05:37 PM
The President and Board Members are volunteers.
Jonathan Erickson November 28, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Does the CEO receive any salary. So the only people paid any money are the Attornies on a as needed basis?
Karen Goff November 28, 2011 at 07:08 PM
The CEO gets a salary. We've been over this already. At last check it was $223K. http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/546/546060435/546060435_200912_990O.pdf
Jonathan Erickson November 28, 2011 at 07:18 PM
thats more than the mayor of New York and La get in fact it's more than any member of the Senate or Congress exceptin the President and the Vice-President. Reston has a population of approximately 60,000?Anything seem a bit out of wack to you?
Ellen November 28, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Thank You for the info.
Kathy November 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Who is Thomas J Burgess? Why does he get $501,923? Does he get paid this much every year? Will he get paid this much next year?
Carolyn Lawson Low November 29, 2011 at 01:15 AM
It appears that Mr. Burgess, an early Reston [Home Owners] Association director, received a one-time, lump sum payout of his retirement/pension.
Stealth Ops November 29, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Hmmm... $200K+ for Milton? What does he do? Over $500K on an useless website? What kind of IT services does RA require? Is that how much it takes to operate a site that is circa 1999 with a shopping cart?
Jonathan Erickson November 29, 2011 at 11:41 AM
I do not see Mr. Hopkins as a board member. What is it he does for his 100k plus? Over 6 million dollars in wages please tell me the top ten salaries, I am very curious!!
Karen Goff November 29, 2011 at 12:31 PM
For the fifth time, the board members are not paid. David Hopkins is the CFO. You do understand that your inquires are taking up a lot of my time. For the sixth time, if you want the answers to all of your questions, many of which have already been answered, contact Reston Association. Public information officer Amelia Townsend can answer them; amelia@reston.org.
Jonathan Erickson November 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM
David earned 146,917 in 2009 from the RA that doesen't sound like volunteer work to me. Quit answering my questions without answers, maybe someone else can weigh in with concrete answers instead of web sites. 6,6 million dollars in wages and compensation is a question that shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Site when my question was answered or get out of the way.
Karen Goff November 29, 2011 at 01:16 PM
I just said, he is the CFO and not a board member volunteer. Thus, the $146K salary.
Karen Goff November 29, 2011 at 01:17 PM
Again, if you want concrete answers, contact RA. I am under no obligation to research a story just because you demand immediate answers.

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