Re: contingency fund questions
From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 09:07:21 -0800 (PST)
RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA , long built
We have
a) Annual budget, which includes specific line items for current operating expenses, also additions to reserves such as depreciation, accruals towards a cap for certain eventual expenses such as mower replacement, path maintenance; ten percent of the budget total (about $24,000) is the annual Contingency line item. This contingency money can be applied by the Steering team in specified situations such as - a funded item like insurance goes up in cost, or something unforeseen that needs prompt attention like the well pump breaks. For other uses of that money, community approval is needed.

b) Unspent money from the annual budget is rolled over as a credit against assessments. This applies not to the very next year, but one year later. This is because we are formulating the 2010 budget already in September 2009, when the 2009 year-end figures are still unavailable. So once we figure our total funding needs for 2010, we subtract the unspent budget funds from 2008, then divide the total remaining into our per-household assessments for 2010.

This is helpful in allowing line items not to be too scrimpy -- more like "up to $---" for X. Knowing that whatever isn't needed will come back to us to reduce future assessments.

c) There are ongoing reserve funds. Some, like the common house depreciation, just keep getting a few more thousand dollars added each year. Others accrue to a cap, and then need no more additions.

d) We also have some Undesignated Funds, which can be accessed with community approval for capital projects or other items not foreseen in the annual budgeting. Those funds resulted, years ago, when we "found" some money -- interest on investments, I think it was -- which had accumulated and not been folded into annual budgeting. It's served as a handy slush fund. This year we hit it up for $5000 for a greenhouse for our vegetable garden.

Lynn Nadeau

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