Rick Fisher, Chair of the NTRA’s Finance Committee, briefed residents on November 21 at an open meeting about the 2020 budget. A 25-page handout
with the details was distributed. Residents can submit written questions by November 26 to Tim Grueter at Town Management (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Committee’s expectation is that at the NTRA’s Annual Meeting, the budget will be accepted as approved. Some key points follow.
The NTRA Finance Committee is composed of five New Town residents drawn from several neighborhoods. There are no members other than residents. Tim Grueter works with the Committee as the Town Management representative.
The Committee followed a documented process to identify requirements, forecast their costs and communicate their recommendations. They have been working the process since August 20, 2019.
NTRA expenses include both “per door” requirements, which increase as New Town adds residences, and operating expenses, such as legal services and pool maintenance.
Landscaping services is the major “per door” expense. It accounts for 43% of the NTRA budget. The cost of landscaping services is set by contract. The Committee has budgeted a $42K increase for 2020. The Landscape Advisory Committee requested an additional $12K which is aimed primarily at refreshing the landscaping in a mature common area of Chelsea Green. An additional $4K has been budgeted for legal support to help with the transition of the Board of Directors to resident control. The NTRA will use our current lawyer who specializes in HOAs and is recognized in Virginia as one of the best.
The Committee’s recommended budget keeps a sharp watch on reserves. The objective is that reserves build consistently over the years so that if an unplanned capital cost suddenly appears, the HOA can afford the work without a special assessment on residents. An engineering firm has studied New Town’s assets and provided a recommended annual contribution to replacement reserves. NTRA will meet its 2019 reserve goal and, if adopted, the 2020 budget will maintain it.
The total 2020 budget is $808,540, which is $110K above 2019. Of that total, $69K are “per door” costs and therefore do not affect fees. Operational expenses are basically static and so likewise do not affect 2020 fees. HOA fees will need to rise to meet the recommended replacement reserve objective.
The budget reflects different costs and fees for Village Walk since exterior maintenance of individual homes (e.g., painting, roofing) is part of their homeowners’ agreement.
NTRA will maintain its fee structure, divided among cottages, detached homes and town homes. Fees are budgeted to rise annually for each, respectively: $44, $96, $52. Village Walk town homes will have an additional $40 annual increase to cover their exterior maintenance.