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RA Passes 06,' 07' Budget

Reston Association will operate with a $10.9 million budget in 2006 and $11.1 million in 2007.

With little fanfare, the Reston Association board of directors unanimously passed its 2006-2007 budget during its Nov. 17 board meeting.

The new budget ensures that RA members will see just one increase in their annual assessment over the next two years.

In 2006, the annual assessment will increase $12 compared to 2005, from $425 to $437. From 2006 to 2007, there will not be an increase in the annual assessment — the first time the assessment has been flat since 1994.

The $10.9 million operating budget in 2006 represents a 3.2 percent increase from 2005. RA’s operating budget in 2007 will exceed $11.1 million.

MEMBERS MAY have had higher annual assessments if it hadn’t been for some fast thinking by the board and Milton Matthews, RA executive vice president and CEO.

At a budget hearing last month, several members argued that RA needed to change three existing part-time positions — the tennis coordinator, the volunteer coordinator and the natural areas field worker — to full-time positions. The board agreed that the changes should be made. However, the additions alone, which would have cost about $120,000, would have meant an increase in the annual assessments.

Instead of raising the annual assessment, the board suggested to staff that cuts be made. In a subsequent meeting, Matthews presented a series of cuts that made up for the staffing additions. The cuts included $46,696 for a full-time member services desk position, which is currently vacant, $10,000 for staff training and $22,000 for increased tennis revenue. Small reductions were made to existing budgets for tree work, ballfield turf repairs, pool furniture and planning and design fees.

MATTHEWS POINTED out in a budget summary that RA’s reliance on annual assessments will shrink in the next two years. In 2004, annual assessments represented more than 80 percent of total revenue. In 2007, assessments represent 77 percent. Matthews said that much of this change is the result of greater revenue generated by RA programs and services. The change helps shift “some of the financial burden to members and non-members actually using those programs and services,” said Matthews in a budget summary report.

Below are some other highlights from the final budget:

*Money is included to fund a management audit of the Covenants Administration.

*Money has been budgeted in 2006 to conduct a referendum if necessary.

*Money for future development analyses to support the PROS study, funding feasibility studies for indoor recreation and the possible closure or conversion of existing low-use facilities.

* A net reduction in 3 full-time positions over the next two years.

* Capital budgets to average $1.7 million in the next eight years.

* $495,000 to fund new initiatives.

*Money is budgeted to improve the landscaping around the Central Services Facility.

*One tot lot will be replaced during the two-year budget cycle.

*Funding has been included to replace several bridges over the next two years.

*An aeration system will be added to Lake Newport in 2006.

*A new pavilion will be constructed at Uplands Pool in 2007.