The Reston Association Board of Directors voted on Thursday to a $25 rise from 2012's $565 payment.
The amount — the same as the number approved in the biennial budget in 2011 — is the lowest of the three options the board discussed. The board could have voted on an assessment of $595 or $600.
Additionally, the board voted to set assessments at $580 for federally/state subsidized units and $260 for households that get Fairfax County tax relief.
RA CEO Milton Matthews, who is not a voting member of the board, advocated to set the amount at $595.
"We are going to be stretched at $590," he said prior to the vote, pointing out an expected $100,000 deficit from this year's expenses. "It is going to be tough. There is not a lot of leeway in our budget. We have expenses in a community that is changing and growing. We are starting to focus on our infrastructure. Our amenities are part of the quality of life in this community."
Matthews also pointed out nearly $250,000 in unplanned expenses expected in 2013. Among them:
* $15,000 in dollars lost from more property owners qualifying for Fairfax County Tax Relief (406 households in 2012)
* $48,000 in lost assessments from the demolition of 82 units at Parc Reston; $25,000 in additional legal fees for special counsel for RA's role in the rezoning issue for Reston National Golf Course
* $50,000 for an expected contribution to South Lakes High School for a synthetic turf athletic field (down from a projected $100,000 earlier this year)
* An expected $20,000 contribution to a community-wide effort to produce a documentary about Reston for its 50th anniversary in 2014
* The hiring of a part-time community planner position ($40,000); and an additional $50,000 for "additional legal expenses for billing and collection and general services."
Hunters Woods/Dogwood director Cheryl Beamer suggested raising assessments as high as $600. She reasoned that with additional money, Reston Association could do the things it needs to do externally (funding special projects) and internally (giving staff meaningful raises) without constant self scrutiny.
"We have done too little to fund what we need to do as an organization," she said.
South Lakes Director Richard Chew and Apartment Owners' Director Amanda Andere both said that an important part of the budgeting process should be to take a hard look at priorities.
"We have some idea what we need," said Chew. "We have aging assets. We don't know if Reston National will be resolved in January or will take up three years of litigation. "
Only one citizen used the public comment section to speak to the board. The resident of Sagewood Lane encouraged the board to find creative solutions other than consistently raising assessments.
"Eighty-two units are gone at Parc Reston," she said. "We are going to see more and more of this kind of thing. Isn't there some sort of tax the developers can pay? They are making big bucks. Those of us who are retired are not making big bucks."
RA ASSESSMENTS SINCE 2000
Year Amount % +/-
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%
(Source: Reston Association)
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