Column: Independent Progressive: It’s Starting to Look and Feel Like Fall

Column: Independent Progressive: It’s Starting to Look and Feel Like Fall

Hasn’t it been nice to wake up to bright, sunshiny days recently? With rain neither in sight nor in the weather forecast! And then to go out for a daily walk along Reston’s paths, as we do with our Scottie companion, and actually have to wear a light jacket or sweater in the cool, dry air? Over the weekend, I also noticed that some maple trees around Lake Anne are showing yellow, even orange leaves. Fall is indeed with us. This morning I turned the page on my wall calendar over the computer and, sure enough, in big, bold letters it reads OCTOBER. In our Reston Farmers Market, we bought what I’m pretty certain are our last peaches and last sweet corn of 2018. Squashes, gourds and pumpkins both the traditional orange ones and the increasingly popular blue cheese colored ones are the order of the day. And apples! I counted twenty-three varieties in the farmers’ stands on Saturday — from the sweet Honeycrisps to the tart, tangy Granny Smiths.

In Reston, in late September we celebrate the annual Multi-cultural Festival in Lake Anne with all its diversity, colorful folkloric dancers, and crafts and foods from around the globe. A personal favorite part of the Festival is the ceremony for new American citizens on Washington Plaza next to the Lake. It’s a moving reminder of how we traditionally do and should welcome new arrivals to our very special country.

Fall is also a time for rebooting all things civic for the community. All our schools start a new academic cycle and the pathways around here are filled with little ones heading to the various elementary schools. Summer camps and the swimming pools close and grow quiet. The Reston Community Center holds its annual preference poll, the start of a process to fill three positions on its Board of Governors. In fact, this year’s poll results were just announced and, lo and behold, one of the top three vote getters is a newcomer to a Board which typically ends up with the same folks year after year. Number two in the vote count this year is Dick Stillson, a retired International Monetary Fund Economist and Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a founder and chair of Reston 2020. RCC needs some new blood. Mr. Stillson brings it and will be a terrific addition, with new ideas for how RCC can address the needs of 10,000 or so new residents in the rail corridor in the next few years.

At the Reston Association, new leadership is trying to oversee preparation of a budget for 2019 in the absence of a CEO and CFO, both of whom left a few months ago. Other things being equal, we should expect a budget and assessment to pay for it about the same as last year, or actually reduced because the prior Board had slashed $400,000 from overstuffed legal services, paid off the dreadful Lake House mortgage, and planned a minor reduction in the generous staff health plan. However, without a budget savvy CFO or CEO, and with a strong new Fiscal Committee effectively sidelined from the process, the draft budget has grown, and the new leadership seems content to accept the added weight and increasing assessments. If the heavier budget is approved, the upward trend broken last year will likely renew and continue climbing into the future. It is still Fall, not too late for the RA Board to get the Fiscal Committee directly involved working with the staff to restore fiscal discipline in the 2019 budget. In the Fall such things are possible.