Re: contingency fund questions
From: Bonnie Fergusson (
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 09:26:44 -0800 (PST)
   Swans Market Co housing has a contingency fund which is 8% of our total 
budget less the reserve fund and insurance costs and other stable fixed costs 
not subject to change over the course of the year (because contingency expenses 
are all about unexpected changes).  We have used it to cover unexpected 
expenses not included in our regular budget categories.  Things like broken 
windows in the common house, a lawyer when we had a dispute about an 
inadequately soundproofed wall between us and a restaurant, paying for a sound 
study in connection with that dispute, plumbing disasters and massive changes 
in our utility bills from the impossible to predict fluctuating cost of natural 
gas (our electricity is provided by our solar panels so we don't have to worry 
about that).  Things we couldn't or at least didn't anticipate when we were 
setting up our budget for the year.   Whatever we don't use by the end of the 
year goes back into the "general fund" which is
 carryed over to the next year and reduces what we have to raise from HOA dues 
to fund the next years budget.  As a system it works pretty well.  No 
complaints.  Committee chairs have to approve all reimbursements for expenses 
under their committee budgets but the Treasurer has to approve the dispensing 
of contingency funds for unbudgeted expenses and she is advised and supported 
in those decisions by the Finance Committee as a whole.

                   Bonnie Fergusson
                   Swans Market Cohousing
                   Oakland, CA

--- On Wed, 11/11/09, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> wrote:

> On Nov 11, 2009, at 1:18 AM, Jodi Coleman wrote:
> >  I have read that several
> > places have 10% of their budget as a contingency
> fund.  Is this 10%  
> > of your
> > operating budget, or is this the whole budget
> including any  
> > additions to the
> > maintenance reserves?  Have folks found your
> systems to be adequate?

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