|RE: size and management companies||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rowenahc (rowenahccs.com)|
|Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 10:44:15 -0700 (MST)|
Cambridge Cohousing has 41 units, a mixture of town houses and apartments. Over the last three years we have been working out what we can and cannot do ourselves and we do not have total consensus on whether it is wise for us to continue to do our trash and recycling. However, there are enough people who feel strongly that once we give up everything to the management company we are on the slippery slope of becoming "just another condo" - so we keep doing it ourselves. I also have a personal theory that having your neighbors doing the trash chores instead of paid strangers makes you more aware of the need for sorting and recycling and using the composters for garbage - something a number of us feel very strongly about. We don't have dumpsters, we have regular trash cans and the big blue recycling bins on wheels that the city provides, so they can be moved from the trash enclosures to the side walks by hand. It takes two or three people maybe fifteen minutes a week. If you have big dumpsters I'm not clear what you want the management company to do since they have to be moved by professionals? If people are strewing stuff around you need to face it and them whether or not you have a management company - it is usually possible to find something that identifies the culprits. Bear in mind that when people first move in they produce an excessive amount of trash for several months! The only comparable time is Christmas and even that's not as bad as the first months. We also do snow/ice removal on the internal pathways, but not on adjoining sidewalks or in the driveways. Again, some people ask - can't we just pay for it, but in reality with the thaw and freeze we've been getting this year we'd have to have someone here almost full-time to keep on top of it! Gardening is done by those who care and there is little pressure to get that work done by others. We do pay to get the floors in the living and dining rooms in the common house done on a weekly basis - the condition of the floors was becoming a contentious issue over who spilled what and whose standards should be met! One of our incentives is cost - by taking on some of the various tasks that a managing company might do we are saving in the region of $15,000 a year. Some of our families are on tight budgets and appreciate not having to pay out an additional $30 a month and we haven't quite figured out how (or whether we want) to allow people to "cash out" of doing chores the others share. If your community is less cost conscious you may want to get the less attractive chores done by paid help. Obviously, your decision will also depend on how many willing and able worker bees you have and whether they mind if some people can't or won't participate. Some people actually enjoy doing this stuff. I suspect every community has a different threshold for these decisions. We do have our management company do the bookkeeping. If you mess up there the community can get hit with penalties or the utilities being turned off (it happened!) and, as I mentioned before, no one wants to dun a fellow community member who is delinquent with payments - much easier to let a stranger do it and levy the delinquency fees. The main point is that management companies are very flexible and you can negotiate what your community wants them to do assuming, of course, that y0u can get consensus on that :-) Rowena
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