RE: Equitable distribution of costs
From: Fred H. Olson WB0YQM (
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 94 07:59:12 CST
I've been reviewing the messages from the last month about assessing
member fees.  I plan to use them as the basis of an article for
our local newsletter. Note that I have not been a part of a cohousing
core group that has gotten so far as raising significant amounts of
money for development costs.  The scheme I currently like is similar to
New View's but in thinking about it I think my wifeand I have had an
insight that I'd like your comments on.  Suppose:

Money would be raised to cover early development costs as they arise
from member households in some equitable way - per household maybe with
an adjustment for household size. Records would be kept of who paid what
and would later be counted toward house purchase.  Costs would be added
to the cost of the houses and common space shares.  Thus when the
community is completed the development costs are paid for in proportion
to house cost.

But if costs are eventually in proportion to house cost what difference
does it make how members raise this money as long as enough money can be
raised? Why, for example, not essentially borrow from members who have
liquid assets that they can essentially prepay toward their house?

Note the case of the community that fails and everyone looses the money
they have put in so far (no post failure transfers). In this case people
would lose in proportion to the fee assessment formula.  Thus an
equitable fee assessment formula essentially spreads the risk equitably.
It also enforces a level of monetary commitment among members.

Similarly, I'm inclined toward keeping a record of hours worked but I'm 
also sympathetic to arguments about individual circumstances. The group
has the potential to take these into account in enforcement. Keeping
track would allow differences in time to be open knowledge and exert
some peer pressure for members to do what they can rather than a source 
of private resentment.

Fred Olson   Minneapolis,MN     Seward Cohousing Group   *and*
             fholson [at]    Anderson Lane Core Group
             COHOUSING-L sysop  Hopefully one of them will get built!

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