|Re: Generating income to offset dues||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Raines Cohen (rc3-coho-Lraines.com)|
|Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 08:49:22 -0800 (PST)|
Norm, Asking for donations is a great way to open up the possibility of contributions that offset some of the costs of community without the barriers it creates (and new costs/obligations) of charging mandatory fees for things. Note that as a California home-owners association (HOA), any fee-for-service income (other than regular dues) like guest room fees that are mandatory, space rental, etc. are subject to California and federal income tax at a rate of at least 30%, so the net benefit to the community is greatly reduced, and if you look at where those taxes go (a hat-tip to the recent thread on some other controversial governmental functions), is it an obligation or opportunity for the community to reduce its support for those in every lawful manner? In many of the cohousing neighborhoods I've visited (including the one I live in), this topic brings up issues of fairness, which is a core value for many communities. If someone makes unequal use of community facilities, is it the community's role to incentivize or mandate "fair" pay corresponding to the use? This model often has some reductionist elements, assuming a scarcity of resources and that every night a guestroom bed is slept in reduces the useful life of that bed, for example, and that a pricing scheme provides a feedback mechanism that can prevent resource monopolization and manages the competition. A community searching for alternative approaches might look at other values and benefits from conversational, relational, and other methods of resource management. We can ask ourselves: * How is my quality of life (or perhaps even property value) enhanced by having use of shared resources in my community? If I didn't have the community guestroom(s), how much more would I be spending to have the extra room in my house? How much more energy would I be using to heat/cool it? Multiply by the number of units in the community. * To what extent do I gain from having a cohousing neighbor's relative/friend or a visiting cohouser visiting? Do they help cook a meal and/or clean, or contribute in other ways? (financially being one way.. and might they potentially contribute more if we don't set a limit or "expected" amount?) Do I make new connections and learn things over common dinner? Do I get the opportunity to stay elsewhere in community when I travel? * Are there some things like the toolroom or rice-cooker that I use more than others? Should I be paying more for those? Which values are more core to our group: fairness or cooperation? mutual support or accountability? openness or privacy? Certainty or opportunity? Have these changed since move-in? What have we learned from each other, about ourselves? Is there trust we can rely on? * How much community effort (psychic as well as hours) goes into creating and operating systems for tracking and collecting extra fees? What's really important in the big picture? Money is a tool that can be helpful in these matters. Let's just keep in mind that it's not the only one at our disposal. Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach Planning for Sustainable Communities at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing where we are putting out our fire extinguishers today for their annual onsite professional inspection, refilling, and servicing, achieving greater safety at a fraction of the cost individual service would run. Convener, East Bay Cohousing http://www.ebcoho.org/ Where I was part of a full house mightily impressed with Katie McCamant's Cohousing Partners PowerPoint presentation in Berkeley last week, talking less about architecture and much more about the people and the greenness of the movement. We've come a long way since the old-fashioned slide-projector talks. Regional Organizer, Northern California Cohousing http://www.norcalcoho.org/ Where we got to walk through a site Sunday in a North Bay New-Urbanist "one earth" village in the planning approval process (1900 units with no net new water! Pushing way beyond LEED standards to reduce net impacts down to a level 1/5th that of typical Americans) that may include one or two cohousing neighborhoods; a group has been meeting for a year and is preparing to become more visible/public. The developer's Chief Sustainability Officer lives in cohousing already, making it easy to connect, but he advised the group to "shop around" and get informed about other potential sites so they can choose the village site rather than just fall into it. Boardmember, Fellowship for Intentional Community http://www.ic.org/ Publishing the Communities Directory and Communities magazine Presenter, The Climate Project http://www.theclimateproject.org/ Bringing Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" slideshow and conversation about the link between community and sustainability to DC next week with a presentation 12/29 at Eastern Village Cohousing
Generating income to offset dues O3C11N6G, December 12 2007
- Re: Generating income to offset dues Raines Cohen, December 18 2007
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