Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Questioning Cost Benefit of the Pool Renovation

Andrea Worker's article of Wednesday June 27, 2018 (Reston Community Holds Annual Meeting) noted that questions that I had asked during the meeting were satisfactorily answered. While RCC staff answered my questions, that’s not the real issue. The cost benefit of the pool renovation remains nebulous – what percent of the community will benefit for the costs incurred.

By comparison with the local Special Tax District, the $5 million being spent by the McLean Community Center will provide an additional 7,500 square feet of new space, an art studio, updated meeting rooms and community room, lobby and rehearsal space as well as needed administrative space. RCC’s pool renovation which started as a $1.5 million update of dated pool equipment has expanded to its present estimated cost of $5.542 mm. The attractive improvements will certainly be welcomed by its existing users, but the footprint / capacity of the pool will not increase even at a current estimated cost of $5.542 million. The RCC Board and staff may be preparing the community for a material cost increase in the near term.

The cost of the project will be borne by the RCC’s reserve being drawn down from its present level. While the reserve is reported to be adequate to absorb the pool renovation costs, RCC staff reported that there is currently no floor (percent or dollar amount) below which the reserve could fall. The reserve will have to be replenished primarily by net revenue after expenses over time. Assuming that RCC revenues and expenses move in the same direction and in the same magnitude as they have in the recent past, it will take about 13 years to rebuild the reserve to its present level. What might happen if a major system fails? Could the Special Tax District tax assessment rise; will pool programs be cut or their cost to members rise?

Robert Petrine


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