Sliding Scale

This process describes how households decide what their contribution to the cohousing group's costs will be.

It does not apply to condo fees, but is used for the cohousing group monthly fees. It can also be used for other expenses if appropriate.

Step 1
The group will come to consensus on a cohousing budget.

Step 2
The trustees will compute the average contribution needed from owner occupied households to cover the agreed budget.
For example: An average bid of $70 per household will fully fund this year's budget.

Step 3
Each household decides on their monthly pledge level to the cohousing budget, with the minimum allowed pledge being 5% of the average bid required to fully fund the budget.

In this decision, households can be guided by how much they use community resources, and approximating how their income compares to other households. They can also consider whether they expect to make more or less money in the coming year. Further, they can freely decide to contribute as much as they feel comfortable with, in support of the less wealthy members of the community. The households indicate to the budget team of the trustees how much they will contribute.

Step 4
The trustees determine whether total pledges fully fund the budget.

If yes, the trustees pass on the good news, and households are given the new monthly numbers. Pledge totals above that needed to fully fund the .budget will be brought to the community to decided on which, if any, additional items should be moved into the budget

If no, the trustees pass on the bad news. Households are informed of the gap and asked to reconsider pledge levels. (Step 3 is repeated.) If this fails, we move on to step 5

Step 5
The trustees may regroup and propose for consensus a reduced budget to match the maximum contribution offers.

Sliding Scale (Original Decision)

The central idea of this agreement is that once a budget figure has been agreed on by the group, households can decide what their contribution to the group's costs will be. The decision will be supported by anonymous information that will help a household determine where on the economic spectrum it is located. If this process does not produce enough contributions, it can either be repeated or the budget can be rethought.

Step 1
The group decides on a target figure (for monthly dues, consultants' fees, annual budget, etc.)

Step 2
A committee receives anonymously an annual income figure from each household (e.g. the Adjusted Gross Income from last year's tax return).

Step 3
The committee computes first the average contribution needed from all households to cover the target figure. Then a proposed sliding scale from 75% to 125% is computed. This sliding scale is published together with an anonymous graph depicting the economic variation among the households. The committee might indicate which contribution level roughly corresponds to which income level. Example:

Target figure $100,000
Average contribution needed $4,000 (from 25 households)
Sliding scale: $3,000 (75%) — $4,000 (100%) — $5,000 (125%)
Income distribution: 4 households < $50,000 / year
11 households $50,000 – $75,000
7 households $75,000 – $100,000
3 households > $100,000

Step 4
Each household decides on their own at which point on the sliding scale of contributions they want to be located for the budget period. In this decision, they can be guided by seeing how their income compares to other households. They can also consider whether they expect to make more or less money in the coming year. Further, they can freely decide to contribute as much as they feel comfortable with, in support of the less wealthy members of the community. The households indicate to the committee (still anonymously?) how much they will contribute.

Step 5
The committee determines whether there are enough contributions to reach the target figure. If yes, the committee passes on the good news. Households firm up their commitment in some way and the process is over. If no, the committee passes on the bad news. First, households are asked to reconsider whether they might be able to contribute more. So, step 4 is repeated. If it still fails, the committee lets the group know that the budgeted figure will have to be reduced.