Re: Governance & Income Inequality [ was Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:51:21 -0800 (PST)
Technical answer: there is a document with "percentage interest" that
decides our HOA dues. It just happens to exactly match the percentage
pricing of the ORIGINAL sale price of the homes offered by the
developer. It is mostly square footage, but also how close to the
common house, whether affordable, and magic, as best I can tell.
Percentage interest isn't REALLY based on the price, it really went
the other way around. And many homes have sold for different prices on
the open market, this is not relevant to percentage interest.

Coho dues to HOA dues...well, not sure that is possible to answer!
Since a 4BR has $600 or so HOA and my small 3BR has $400 or so HOA and
2Br and 1BR lower, and "affordable" even lower... and the coho is
average $94. So different for everyone, eh?

Coho vs HOA bills...we reallly push as much as possible into coho. But
building reserve and repiars is HOA, out water system is HOA, our
waste system is HOA, snow plowing (we've had A LOT OF THAT) is HOA. Oh
and road maintenance is HOA. I can't' remember if the interior paths
are HOA or Coho....
But yes not-very optional items are coho. Which means its a sliding
scale fund that decides whether we leave the common house warm all the
time so it is welcoming or cold all the time so it is inexpensive.
Insurance? I don'[t actually know... but it is possible that that is
actually at the Sawyerhill level, covering our two different
communities? (We really are MUCH more complicated than I described!!!)

The coho dues look like the left side of a random events chart, with
the highest number at the middle and more and more folk as you
increase the payment. Then there are a few outlyers at the top, above
the average, more in close to the average. This year is the first year
we've SHARED that chart, it'll be itnerested to see if that changes
the pledges of the outlyers.


On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 10:38 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> 
> A technical question, and a political one:
> Technical: When you say home price, you mean price at the date of first sale, 
> first occupancy?  Or, do you end up re-adjusting the ratios according to 
> current market activity?  (At Cornerstone, “share of community”, or "percent 
> interest”, is pegged to square footage, not to an artificially suppressed or 
> volatile market value …)
> Political: Based on your experience …
>      (1) What’s the typical ratio of cohousing dues to HOA dues?  1:2?  1:5?  
> What?
>      (2) What kind of common expenses are NOT in the cohousing dues?  E.g., 
> you see cleaning the common house as “optional", but what about heating it?  
> Or roofing it?  Or insuring it?  Is your community website optional?
>      (3) What’s the typical distribution of voluntary payments?  Almost 
> everyone at 100%?  A few at 100%, with many others a little below?  Variable 
> from year to year?  What?
>> On Feb 10, 2015, at 9:44 AM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 
>> wrote:
>> We have both HOA dues and Cohousing dues. HOA dues are based on the share a 
>> household has of the community, and that is based on home price, and thus 
>> the HOA dues are less for the affordable homes.
>> Then the cohousing dues are sliding scale. We put into the cohousing all 
>> "optional" items, the washer dryer, the furniture in the common house, the 
>> hottub maintenance, ch cleaning, etc. We calculate the average each year and 
>> people pledge what they can pay... the minimum pledge is 5% of the average. 
>> If we come in short we either ask folk to increase their pledge or we cut 
>> something from the budget. So far so good, but we are new at this (going on 
>> six years I think.)
>> And then our meals program is pay for the meals you sign up for. That team 
>> is presently discussing creating a "good neighbor fund" for the occasional 
>> person who has accrued a balance and has reported they are unable to pay.
>> The state program we used is "moderate affordability" so those homes were 
>> priced for people who make 80% of the area median income. Many room for rent 
>> folk make less than that.
>> Honestly we've agreed from the beginning that being financially diverse was 
>> one of our goals. Even people who can afford better things are always asking 
>> if we are keeping our expenses affordable for everyone in the group. We have 
>> issues as to whether we really have equal participation, but the line is not 
>> based on money...
>> We worried about this issue before move-in but our experience has been that 
>> the financial differences between us are really not the fault lines.
>> -Liz
>> (The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
>> <>
>> <>
>> 508-450-0431
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(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
Worcester Fellowship

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