Re: HOA dues increase
From: Jessie Kome (
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2019 04:49:34 -0700 (PDT)

Here at Eastern Village Cohousing (EVC), we are facing the likelihood of two 
consecutive years with a possibly sizable condo fee increase. The increase for 
2021 was determined a couple years ago as part of an overall plan to more fully 
fund our reserves. When I understood from the board treasurer that an increase 
for 2020 was probably going to be needed to cover expected operating costs, I 
knew we needed a broader discussion within the community (55 units, with about 
10 of them originally moderately priced dwelling units under a county program- 
so we have a very wide income range among households here).

EVC calls its community meeting the Membership Circle, and I am this year’s MC 
coordinator, which means I am both on the board of directors and help set the 
MC agendas. (I am sharing the job with another member.) Starting 6 months 
before the usual formal start of our budget process, I informed the MC of the 
potential for the 2020 increase. We set up a series of “salons” (discussion 
meetings at which decisions are not allowed) organized by a team of 3 
facilitators to try to surface feelings, thoughts, and ideas around our 
finances. One of the facilitators also interviewed a non-random sample of 
community members individually, to dig deeper about stresses and values. 

The results of the discussions and interviews revealed broad agreement around  
being responsible and somewhat conservative with our reserve choices, and also 
issues to explore further in the MC, the main issue being a very wide range of 
opinion around the goodness of reducing the size of any fee increase by 
increasing the chores we do ourselves. I think the organized salons and 
interviews had the interesting side effect of generating informal discussions 
about money throughout EVC, and flavoring MC consideration of seemingly 
unrelated topics as well. 

Starting with our July meeting, the budget’s formal agenda arc begins. I am 
hoping for a three meeting/month arc, but not holding my breath. With the 
groundwork we did, I feel confident we will make a thoughtful decision that 
will strengthen community.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, MD USA
“Where the average time for responding to “cup of sugar” requests on the EVC 
community list averages about 15 minutes.”

> On Jul 8, 2019, at 1:13 AM, G/P Looney-Burman <burloon [at] 
>> wrote:
> Thank you, Diana.  We really are in good shape with our reserve, and in
> determining how much of a  dues increase we need.  What we are seeking some
> guidance on is how other communities have presented the need for a dues
> increase to the members, and strategies for achieving consensus on the
> increase.  What we would like to do is to have every homeowner see  why the
> increase is not only needed but to also embrace the notion that a dues
> increase benefits them.  Any help along these lines would be most welcome.
> Pat Looney-Burman
> La Querencia (Fresno Cohousing Community)

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