CA assessment cap lowered to 5 percent

The action is expected to reduce association revenue by $900,000

February 20, 2005|By William Wan | William Wan,SUN STAFF

To counteract sharply rising state property tax assessments, the Columbia Association board of directors has lowered the cap on the association's revenue growth from assessment increases from 10 percent to 5 percent.

For most residents, the lowered limits will cut by half the increase in the annual Columbia Association charge, which is based on property value.

"This is what's fair for the citizens," said Miles Coffman, board member from Hickory Ridge village, who suggested the change.

The new cap is expected to reduce the association's revenue from its annual charge by $900,000.

During the same meeting Thursday, the group voted, 5-0, to approve the budget for fiscal year 2006. Under the 5 percent cap, the association expects $51.5 million in revenue in fiscal 2006 and a surplus of $2.8 million.

The board also cut $2.2 million worth of capital projects to help pay for about $4 million in capital improvements to the association's sports and fitness facilities, which were approved during the past year. The capital projects deleted because of the fitness center renovations included $700,000 for security measures on association property; $275,000 to renovate a barn in Wilde Lake; and $100,000 to renovate the Rose Price House.

The board hopes the renovations will help the association compete against a large gym that is expected to open in Columbia in the fall. Life Time Fitness, which operates 39 health clubs nationwide, plans to open the facility in the Gateway Commerce Center, off Robert Fulton Drive. Construction is under way.

Columbia Association's sports and fitness division generates about half of the organization's revenue. Because of that, the association's staff has stressed the importance of protecting that revenue source.

The fiscal 2006 budget did, however, set aside $1.7 million to dredge Lake Elkhorn, which had been repeatedly requested by many in Owen Brown village.

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