Re: Governance & Income Inequality [ was Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 07:11:02 -0800 (PST)
Hee hee. Diana and I disagree often, but what is most important to
hear from this conversation is that Mosaic is just 6 years after move
in. (really 5 years 10 months or sometthing like that.)

My point is Mosaic is a baby, or rather toddler. What "works" for the
long haul is not discerned from our community, yet. You are hearing
instead what we are TRYING for the long haul.

It was certainly something we said in development that we would push
as many expenses toward coho dues as possible. As you can see after
move-in the discussion changes.
AND how we handle finances is a struggle regardless of income
inequality--for example Diana is quite frugal, careful, and forward
looking in a financially conservative way and I am not any of those
things. We are both in the market rate homes, so the "affordable"
homes are not what explain our money differences.

Mosaic Commons in Berlin, MA

On Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 8:11 AM, Diana Carroll <dianaecarroll [at]> 
> As much as I hate to disagree with my dear friend Liz, as the bookkeeper
> and budgeteer allow me to...clarify.
> Other than landscaping (which I would really like to move into the regular
> HOA budget) all the standard condo expenses are in our HOA budget, which
> includes all the stuff Liz mentions, AND heating the common house,
> maintenance of all paths, exteriors, interior and exterior of the common
> house, insurance, legal expenses, etc.  Other than that darn anomalous
> landscaping, the cohousing budget is really optional.
> Some things would get a little awkward...cohousing dues pay for the
> electricity for the hot tub, which if you suddenly stopped heating it would
> freeze and be damaged, so you'd have to drain it, things like that.
> I've been one of the main people deciding which things go into which
> budget, and (other than landscaping) it comes down to this: if we stopped
> having a cohousing budget, we'd end up just a regular condo...fully
> functional but without the extras that make cohousing what it is.  That's
> the criteria I use.
> (Well...I mean money wise. Obviously we would still have neighborliness and
> consensus and all that.  The true hurt of cohousing is the community, not
> money.)
> As a budgeteer, I don't try to "push as much as we can into the cohousing
> budget".  In fact, I'd really really like to get landscaping into the HOA
> Budget so that we really honestly could say that the cohousing budget is
> optional.  It didn't happen this year because 1, for personal reasons I
> didn't have the energy to push it, and 2, we saw a sharp hike in HOA fees
> this year and no one really wanted to make that worse than it was. Next
> year, if I have the focus and will to live, I will bring it up again.
> (For the record, our HOA budget is about 5 times what our cohousing budget
> is.  If you are really curious, I'd be happy to share the budgets...they
> aren't confidential)
> Diana

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