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RA Assessments Likely To Rise by $25 Or More

Board will vote Nov. 29 on numbers for 2013, which may be as high as $600.

Reston Association's Board of Directors will vote Nov. 29 on the assessment level for 2013, and households should be prepared for a number that is flirting with $600 annually.

The proposed assessment for 2013 is $590, a number that was forecast in the biannual budget process this year. The 2012 assessment rate was $565.

Board members could vote for an assessment above that number, but no higher than a ceiling of $600. They discussed several projects at their regular meeting on Thursday that will need funding, so the assessment is not expected to be below the projected $590.

"We believe the budget is sound," said RA president Ken Knueven. "This is an opportunity for the board to double check any budget items."

Board members discussed a projected shortfall in 2013, due in part by the 80 units at Parc Reston being demolished. When that area reopens in the next few years as a new, it will be an opportunity for more assessment income. But for now, RA is missing out on up to $45,000.

Board members also discussed a rise in lower-income residents qualifying for reduced assessments, as well as the board's interest in funding new projects such as turf fields at South Lakes High School and Reston's 50th anniversary celebration events in 2014.

Assessments have been rising steadily since 2007 (see chart below). If the assessments are $590 in 2013, it will mean households are paying $75 more than they did in 2010.

The public is invited to comment to the board about assessments at the meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 at Reston Association headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.

RA ASSESSMENTS SINCE 2000

Year    Amount    % +/-    
2000    $370.00        
2001    $375.00    1.35%    
2002    $387.00    3.20%    
2003    $399.00    3.10%    
2004    $415.00    4.01%    
2005    $425.00    2.41%    
2006    $437.00    2.82%    
2007    $437.00    0.00%    
2008    $475.00    8.70%    
2009    $491.00    3.37%    
2010    $515.00    4.89%    
2011    $540.00    4.85%

 2012    $565.00    4.50%

2013     $590.00   4.50% (projected) 

(Source: Reston Association)

John G November 17, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Great...let's keep subsidizing the lower income residents who use more of the services and pay reduced fees...while we're at it, let's keep expanding the Embry Rucker shelter which brings homeless IN to our community, using the bathrooms at the library to wash and accost people at the entrance...
Lilguy November 17, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Let's see... The missing Parc Reston sum amounts to less than $2 per household. It is not the responsibility (or even appropriate) for RA to be providing funds for a public high school. That is the purview of FCPS and the SLHS PTSA. Maybe RA needs to reconsider the extent (not the concept) of the subsidy it provides low income households. If they paid an extra $2 next year along with the rest of us, then that is all the more the assessments would need to rise. Not $25; more like $2. And please note: It's not about these incidental expenses. More than 80% of RA's fees go to pay RA employees who have been given substantial annual raises for years. How large was your raise this year?
Chipperson November 17, 2012 at 11:44 AM
How do I qualify for a low income resident fee - I make a little less than 70k. Does that do it?
Tammi Petrine November 17, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Why in the world would RA be involved with "turf fields" at SLHS??? This is certainly NOT an RA function! The loss of 80 units at Parc Reston does not equate to a fee hike of $25. RA Board: Please be respectful of the tight budgets many Restonians are facing including the unfair toll increase on the DTR. A little here, a little there and POW! Families have less and less discretionary income than ever and depend on you to keep our fees as low as possible. Inflation is no where near 4.5%. Delete the "Turf Fields" and anything else not absolutely necessary, please. Thanks for your service on this most important board. We are depending on your good judgment.
Stuart Rakoff November 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM
And while we are at it, we need to increase funding for remedial education for our neighbors who have either forgotten or never learned about love thy neighbor, charity and other similar values that make us a civilized community.
Reston Original November 18, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I live in Reston, but outside RA and pay this amount annually for the use of 1 original '70s pool and 4 run down tennis courts in my development. When I owned in Reston proper I gladly paid what ever the price bc it goes to keeping Reston nice for ALL. The pathways, streams, and so much more than just facilities are kept up. And as an original Reston Resident from the '60s, I cannot understand why people are making lower income and homeless an issue STILL. They live here too and why not? I can remember people arguing when lower income housing was being developed. The only issue most residents had was that the housing should NOT be located all together, but instead spread throughout the community. And we were right, too bad no one listened. No matter what, Reston is still a nice place in every corner, and that costs money. Just like people's tax $ go to schools even if they don't have children -- it keeps the community growing and thriving.
J gasper November 18, 2012 at 01:25 AM
What is within scope of RA's charter and mission? The issue of employee raises needs to be addressed, too. The fees have grown faster than inflation. In this economy, it is difficult to understand the rate of these increases.
the-stix November 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM
From the Patch article, "They discussed several projects at their regular meeting on Thursday that will need funding, so the assessment is not expected to be below the projected $590". What exactly were these projects?
Gene November 18, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I suspect that the lower income subsidy is going to get worse with Metro coming and I have already seen signs of doubling up in residences. The problem I have is this is mandated charity that I don't even get credit for. I would prefer that I select my charity efforts. I have 2 siblings that are unemployed, a niece, and a nephew. I like helping them out which is getting harder and harder to do, increased tolls, property tax bill just went up $80 a month, cable/internet. And lastly what the heck are these new projects? I cannot wait to move.
Lilguy November 18, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Think INDOOR TENNIS FACILITY! They will soon be charging you for it even though they haven't had a referendum to approve building it.
John G November 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Gene - I agree with you 100% on the "mandated charity/subsidy" and also prefer to select my own recipients. I feel Reston is trying to become Arlington West and we are watching it come apart with no say, or being ignored in the process...
Karen Goff November 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
It says in the story - SLHS turf fields and Reston's 50th anniv. celebration events. For now, indoor tennis is not part of the discussion.
Karen Goff November 18, 2012 at 05:04 PM
It says in the story - new projects are SLHS turf fields and Reston's 50th anniversary celebration events.
Karen Goff November 18, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Wanted to remind readers - if you feel strongly about rising assessments, this is a good place for discussion. but speaking to the RA board in person will have even more impact. Meeting is at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 at RA HQ, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.
BooBots November 18, 2012 at 06:34 PM
No, no, NO to rising RA assessments, period! Let us go to RA board meeting on Nov. 29th and stop this! Otherwise, it's up, up, up. No! Let them find ways to economize and reduce the Assessment.
Gene November 19, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I don't object to keeping things nice, it is my observation that this has been lacking as of late. IMHO the reason for that is we keep expanding what the money is used for. They closed a number of pools over the years and even some tennis courts. I know up by Northgate they built a basektball court and did away with the pool. And the increases we've seen as of late are more than cost of inflation, some of us have not seen an increase in our income for several years so we are sensitive to cost increases that do not seem to be justified. The loss of revenue so they can build a new building that current residents stated quite clearly we were against should not now be a burden placed on us in the form of the annual assessment, the builder should have been required to pat the assessment, after all the facilties that are part of the attraction for new owners have to be maintained. Turf for SLHS should not be an RA issue, just another example. As for more people qualifying for subsidy, I'm curious about that and intend to check into how one qualifies, it's obvioulsy not the address since the number of units that are low income has not changed.
Gene November 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM
And I will be there, that assumes there is room for me to get in. But I suspect it won't matter much, over the years I've almost never seen input from the residents influence any decisions.
Gene November 20, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I've done some more research and sent a note to the board asking for clarification. But based on my reading of the covenants I read that there is a reduced assesssment rate for those that qualify. To qualify it would be based on FFX County Tax Relief with a reduced rate of $260, or State/Federal subsidized housing and the reduced rate is only $10 lower at $555, so that does not seem like a big issue. To qualify for FFX County Tax Relief you have to be disabled, over 65, and make less than $72K. It is important that we understand the details of where the increased cost is coming since they amount it is increasing appears to be within the guidleines. I'm not sure I have all of this correct that is why I've asked for clarification, it should not be this hard for an owner to understand basic information such as how assessments are determined, rate etc... Lastly after reading, I don't understand why they cannot assess the owner, who I assume is the developer, of the new development to replace the revenue lost by the 48 units that were demolished.
Gene November 20, 2012 at 08:06 PM
It would appear that I'm incorrect on FFX County Tax Relief.If you are 65 or older and have revenue of $72K or less you can get tax relief. Fairfax county has a sliding scale of relief at $72k you get 25% relief. But, for RA Assessment your would get a 50% reduction, $260, as long as you qualify for FFX County Tax Relief. So this is not a State/Federal subsidized housing issue, they only get a reduced rate that is $10 lower at $555. But we have an aging population so more are probably qualifying for the 50% reduction and that could get pretty serious. While much of the new construction is going to be condos and thus more likely to attract older folks but most of the new construction is also being billed as Luxury Condominiums. Isn't that less likely to attract those making less then $72K?
Karen Goff November 20, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Actually, much of the new construction, including Parc Reston, will be luxury rentals, not condos.

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