Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fairfax County spends less per capita on its parks than almost any locality in the United States.

Recent data prepared by City Park Facts shows that Fairfax County spent just $21 per capita on its parks in FY2015 ranking it 85th among the 88 localities that provided per capita spending information on their parks.  Nationally, the average locality spent $100 per capita on its parks--that's $6.2 billion for the 62 million covered in this listing of 88 localities.  The $21 total per capita for Fairfax County is only $11 more than the bottom of the list bankrupt Detroit spends on its residents.  Below is the complete list in spending per capita order with Fairfax County highlighted in red.

While the spreadsheet speaks quite eloquently for itself about current conditions, it does not address future conditions.  As we are all aware, the amendment to Reston's Master Plan will allow about 50,000 more people to live here at some point in the next 30-40 years.  At the same time, the County Board, on the recommendation of the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), decided to not add even one acre of new County park space to Reston.  The impact on Reston quality of life and the use of our proprietary RA facilities (most of them by non-RA residents) will be profound. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

RA Board in midst of changing proposed Tetra property acquisition referendum question

RA placed on its website this morning an amended proposed referendum question that it will consider this evening, February 26 at 6PM before its public meeting on the proposal.  The key change highlights that RA will use the existing building for RA purposes, an idea that was not clear in the earlier referendum proposal.

Here is the original proposal:
Should the Reston Association, acting through the Board of Directors, be authorized to:
  1. Purchase the Tetra property, inclusive of land and improvements, located at 11450 Baron Cameron Avenue, Reston, VA 20190 in the North Point District as an addition to Common Area pursuant to Article IV, Section IV.10 of the Reston Deed; and,
         2. Borrow up to $2.65 million on behalf of the association to make the purchase and repurpose the    .            property for future community and recreation uses?
Here is the proposal that will be considered this evening (key change is in bold):
Should the Reston Association, acting through the Board of Directors, be authorized to:  
1) Purchase the 3.47 acre Tetra property, inclusive of land and improvements, located at 11450 Baron Cameron Avenue, Reston, VA 20190 in the North Point District as an addition to Common Area pursuant to Article IV, Section IV.10 of the Reston Deed; 

2) Borrow up to $2,650,000 on behalf of the Association to make the purchase; and,

3)  Renovate and repurpose the existing building and land for future community and recreation uses?
Using the pro formal business data presented in the "fact sheet" with this revised referendum proposal, we calculate that RA's purchase of the Tetra property will add about $16.57 per year to homeowners' HOA fee.  Here is the spreadsheet as we have summarized it:


We encourage Restonians to attend and participate in this important public hearing on the proposed Tetra property purchase.   Presumably the scheduled public hearing will follow immediately after the RA Board approves the proposed revision in the draft referendum text.

Grim Fairfax County Budget Forecast, FY 2016-2017

For those planning to attend the Hunter Mill District shindig this weekend at Frying Pan Park, we strongly recommend that you first review this presentation to the County's School and Supervisors Boards by County Executive Ed Long.  It show the substantial shortfall in revenue growth as jobs and housing growth has turned negative in the face of federal spending cuts.  At the same time, it highlights the need for added revenues to meet employee pension fund requirements and even the hiring of 250 more public safety officers in the next two years and an increase in their budget of about $25 million.

There are many statements in this presentation that should lead to good questions and probably not very good answers from our County leadership.