Re: Creative ways to display or discuss annual budget?
From: Patricia Lautner (
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2016 15:48:26 -0700 (PDT)
At JPCohousing in Boston our fiscal year is the same as the calendar
yeaa\r.  We tend to follow this kind of process:

1) The Board/finance committee asks the committees to submit their budgets
to the Board in September.  The Board looks at the proposed budgets and
does some analysis including comparative trends in certain areas over a few
years when needed. If the proposals end up causing an increase higher than
what the community is likely to tolerate, we go back to the committees and
do a general check in to make sure their proposal was well thought out and

2) In October we send out the draft budget and hold what we like to call a
"Community Conversation" about the budget.  This is not a decision making
meeting of the Plenary but rather a chance for those who are interested to
go through the budget line-by-line to truly understand what is being

3) Prior to the November Plenary, we send a revised draft of the budget out
in both soft- and hard- copy highlighting the changes from the earlier
draft.  Then at the November Plenary we ask for questions or concerns
only.  By that time, those who are truly interested in participating will
have had ample opportunity to ask questions and suggest changes.  Generally
speaking there aren't any surprises at the November plenary nor major
objections that haven't been raised (usually, hopefully, knock wood, etc.)
 At the same time, by November we'll have our actuals for the current year
just about finalized (utilities, guest room income, and the like,) which
helps with the overall budget discussion.

4) At the December Plenary we vote on the budget.

All the best,


On Sat, Aug 13, 2016 at 1:54 PM, John Beutler <jabeutler [at]> 

> At Liberty Village (Libertytown, MD) for several years we have projected
> the spreadsheet on a screen. It includes last year's budget, the proposed
> budget and the final budget across the screen. We do it line by line from
> there. Teams submit their budget requests in advance. The bottom line is
> setting the dues level for the year. This seems to work much better than
> paper copies of a spreadsheet, which we used to do, since the values are
> updated dynamically in the spreadsheet for all to see.
> Cheers
> On 8/13/2016 11:53 AM, Sue STIGLEMAN wrote:
>> Hi!  I'm looking for ideas for a creative way to have a budget
>> discussion.  Our typical way to discuss the budget is to go line by line
>> from top to bottom, in a speadsheet that shows the proposed amount, the
>> amount budgeted last year, and the amount spent so far this year.  I think
>> this past year we got really wild and went bottom to top.  Wooohooooo!  :)
>> I'd like to shake it up this year and try some other techniques --
>> different ways to present the information, different ways to lead the
>> discussion.
>> Any ideas??
>> --sue
>>   Sue Stigleman sstigleman [at] 828-989-9373
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