While we're on the subject of accounting . . .
From: Dick Margulis (dickdmargulis.com)
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2017 05:19:01 -0700 (PDT)
[prompted by Michael Rulison's question but better kept to a separate thread]

As construction approaches (two more bureaucrats to get past before that happens) and we look toward eventually moving in to Rocky Corner (first cohousing in Connecticut), questions arise about how different categories of things will eventually be paid for. Here are the assumptions I've made, but I'd like some feedback on whether I'm headed in the right direction or there might be something simpler.

1. The condominium association is required by law to do certain things (snow removal, landscape maintenance, septic and stormwater management maintenance, building maintenance, capital fund for major repairs, corporate accounting and legal expenses, etc.). That is all paid for by the monthly condo fees, which are decided at an annual meeting of all owners. To the extent owners agree to take on tasks (in the spirit of cohousing communities being managed and maintained by members), the budget doesn't have to cover paid outside services. If no one is willing to get up at five in the morning to plow snow, then the monthly fees will be higher.

2. The condominium association can, as part of the budget process, decide to fund the construction of accessory buildings and other improvements, as time goes on. For example, initial construction does not include carports, but we have sufficient skills within the community to design them, get them permitted, and construct them, with the only outlay being for materials and permits. Everybody gets a carport space, eventually, even if we don't get them all built at once, so this cost can be shared equally.

3. Groups of individuals can organize informally to propose improvements that they will fund themselves and have exclusive use of (a storage shed shared by a few neighbors, for example), and the community can agree to that proposal. This might extend to facilities a small group of people want badly enough to pay for but that others might make use of later, for a fee paid to the group that funded it in the first place.

4. The cohousing community (essentially a social club, unincorporated) can organize community events of various sorts. These activities could be funded a couple of different ways: Some might involve a price per ticket (community meals, concerts, dances); others might be funded out of an annual activity fee, separate from the condo fees, that would be collected per person rather than per home, and that would be voluntary (hey, if you don't want to take part, no one is going to force you).

5. Everyone has the right to full access of the common facilities (by law), but activity fees can be collected for making use of common facilities. Examples: an hourly fee for using the workshop; a fee for hosting a private party; an hourly fee for using the kitchen for canning or other production (i.e., not for a community meal); a fee for the use of your allotment in the community garden (there's space for everyone to have an allotment, but only the people making use of it would share in the costs associated with maintaining it). These would seem to be something the condominium association could collect and account for, but maybe that would have tax consequences and they would be better collected by the unincorporated club instead.

Thanks for any insights.

Dick Margulis
Rocky Corner

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