Re: Monthly homeowner fee
From: David L. Mandel (75407.2361compuserve.com)
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 03:04:30 -0600
At Southside Park our dues range from about $90 for the one-bedroom units to
$130 for the four/five-bedroom units. This covers maintenance, committee
budgets, water, sewer and garbage, common electric, gas and phone, and lots of
reserves for eventual replacement of roofs, paint, appliances, etc. Some items
are billed by unit size, others the same for everyone. There is a fairly
detailed budget that can be sent to anyone who wishes to see it. Send an SASE to
me at 440 T Street, Sacramento 95814. 

The budget and formula, by the way, are pretty much standard California condo,
with the exception of committees and taking account of the fact that we do our
own management and landscape maintenance. Meals, laundry and meeting child care
are totally outside the budget in a separate accounting system, for tax and
other reasons.

Also, we do not at this time factor in either household size or income. There
was a fairly lengthy debate a year or two before move-in at which time these
factors were proposed. It was decided then to ignore them for the time being
since there was no consensus and also since we had to get our condo charter past
the state Department of Real Estate and bankers. We did, however, resolve to
reconsider a year after moving in.

Well, more than two years have passed and we haven't done it yet. I'm supposed
to write up a paper for discussion of the subject and I will eventually, but I'm
procrastinating because it seems we still have much more important things to
discuss now. I was originally a strong advocate of taking into account household
size and especially income, based on the principle that we as a mini-society
have every right to decide to tax ourselves in a progressive fashion to pay for
the common goods and services we all decide to fund. But I've become much less
enthusiastic about the idea: I've realized that with a couple exceptions, the
two ignored factors would just about cancel each other out: lower income
households tend to be larger, so they'd pay more for population and less for
income than a smaller household in the same size unit. It would be a lot of
complication for a very small step toward greater fairness. But as I said, we
will discuss it again, at least a little. 

And meanwhile, we did adopt an income-based system for the supplementary
assessment for capital improvements that we adopted a year or so ago. Households
are paying between $1 and $9 a month, depending on both unit size and
self-declared income category.

David Mandel, Southside Park Cohousing

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