Last week we noted a one-line item in the Reston Association's CEO Report that stated:
"--Examine the Association’s flat rate assessment structure with an eye toward moving to one based on property values."Well, it seems that RA has--in the matter of a week--examined the flat rate assessment structure and is planning to move to one based on property values.
. . . and in a way that we would consider somewhat sneaky, but very typically political in the lowest form of that art.
So what are talking about?
At next Monday's Board Planning Committee (BPC) meeting, November 3, 6 PM, RA HQ Conference Center, Item #6 on the agenda concerns the "2015 Budget and Assessment." As has been reported by RestonNow, the RA assessment is proposed to increase a mere $8.00 next year to $642. BUT (and there always seems to be one), there are a series of amendments to the assessments metrics, including this edited detailed language regarding next year's assessments on p. 10 of Item 6:
Yep, there you have it: After an extensive examination of the RA assessment structure covering one week with no public input to the best of our knowledge nor study of its implications for the community, the RA Board of Directors is proposing to pro rate assessment fees on properties valued at less than $128,400 according to County tax records at a rate of 0.5% of assessed value. And there are other breaks for others with lower income.
OK, there probably aren't more than a handful of properties in Reston that meet the $128,400 value ceiling and who could object to giving the less fortunate a financial break?
Neat! We introduced the concept of a prorated assessment fee. Next year (or the year after), the RA Board can move (again on short notice with no public input) to apply that 0.5% rate to all Reston properties (except those already exempted by this amendment). So, if you live in an average $600,000 home in Reston (which is just about the average in Reston home valuations), you could well be paying a $3,000 annual RA assessment fee.
Yes, RA is opening the door to higher taxes, er, annual assessment fees with as little fanfare and public awareness as possible.
We would recommend that you attend Monday evening's meeting and share your views of the merits or not of this proposal. So you can prepare, we include below the entirety of Item 6 below.