Present: Richard (facilitator), Robert, McAllen, Barak, Paul (minutes), Hannah, Russ, Philip, Ryan, Bernard, Ben
Nobody for meet & greet.
No wiki updates.
(Barak) La Reunion authorizes CHEA to cosign Hardy House’s 2-year lease, with the requirements that Hardy House maintain a cash reserve of at least $20,000 contingent on their PPP loan being authorized for that amount or higher, and if reserves dip below that amount they will notify the Board immediately; And that a representative from Hardy House will attend a majority of all Board meetings.
Barak, CHEA Board Member: We spoke about this last week but it's good to understand the consequences of this decision. We'll be acting as a guarantor, which means we could be on the hook for thousands of dollars. They've done a good job of establishing themselves quickly, they keep detailed minutes and made us a prospectus, and I think it will be a good decision.
Barak: We did talk about fast-tracking Hardy House as one of the Cooperatives of CHEA, but since what they needed was a guarantor on a short timeframe (July), we ended up working on that instead. The idea is that they will be observing us and deepening their relationship with us over the time of the lease.
Hannah, CHEA Board Member: They already have a cash reserve in case they have an emergency. We just asked that one of those emergencies be if they cannot pay their rent and exhaust other options, they'll have this $20,000 set aside for us. They have the money through the PPP loan. It's kind of a private vacancy reserve for us. It would cover about 6 months of rent.
Hannah: So far this has been funded by co-op Good Samaritans. We'd like to support them as a cooperative instead. We don't expect these worst-case scenarios but we've done that planning. They've got a good track record.
Clarifying question (CQ): So if this is approved by both houses, it will be drafted into a contract and passed through a lawyer?
Point of information (POI): Yes.
Concerns / friendly amendment phase - none.
(Ryan Nill) Discuss Budget Proposal.
Ryan (treasurer): We haven't raised the rent in two years, and our fiscal budget ends Tuesday, so it's time for a budget.
Ryan: My proposals include unit rent changes from $904 to $920-936. A room's cost is half that. There's lots of spending we can change - food budget, outreach, groundskeeping, others. One big unknown is about the lease amount we pay.
POI: Last time we voted on rent we didn't go up $20, we went up in $5-10 increments. That is steep when we're in the middle of Covid-19. I'm concerned with how that will affect everyone.
Ryan: We didn't do a rent increase last year, so that's probably why it feels steep.
CQ: So if we increase by the largest amount, everything in the building is cool, right?
Ryan: We cover the whole budget in every proposal. Some of the line-items change in different proposals.
POI: I'd rather deal with the worst-case scenario first as far as maintenance.
Ryan: Maintenance doesn't get impacted by the budget we're deciding today - that's included in the lease payments we make.
CQ: We don't know how much the lease payment is?
POI: We do, but it hasn't gone up in a few years, so I'm assuming it's higher now.
Board member: We should really know that number.
POI: We do have a lot more leeway to decide rent amounts than your usual apartment complex. We COULD choose to give each officer only $10 budgets if we wanted to prioritize lower rent, we just probably won't.
POI: I just want to know how much rent is going to go up because I need to know that for applying for assistance.
CQ: How much notice will we get of a rent increase?
POI: At least 60 days, after we decide together.
CQ: How much do you have for grounds? We haven't had a grounds coordinator in ages.
POI: $30-60 depending on the proposal. Members do make specific requests for co-op grounds supplies and we pay for that. We've been paying about $20/mo.
CQ: Has the maintenance budget ever been increased in the history of our house?
POI: We've never not been reimbursed for maintenance requests. Part of it is that Sasona, our sister house, doesn't always spend their maintenance money.
POI: If you're looking for an equivalent apartment rate, if I zero out the food/utilities/etc we receive in benefits, that's about $150/unit of our rent money.
CQ: What's the latest we could delay our rent increase?
POI: About a month. Ideally the board is discussing budgets in March/April, and the houses are discussing rent increases in May/June, when there's nothing else going on.
Board member: I'd really like to answer the lease question before continuing this.
Tabled for now.
(McAllen) Fix or replace the commons printer to prevent future delays in creating election ballots.
McAllen: Is this something I have to bring to the house, or can I just get maintenance approval?
Maintenance: Well, maintenance says no, so you've got to bring it to the house.
CQ: Isn't there a rule for officers making purchases?
POI: If it's within their purview.
POI: It's got weird issues with the toner cartridge.
Maintenance: Some people think you can clean the cartridge. When it's low sometimes shaking it around can help.
POI: Let's see if the new toner cartridges help, and then if they don't you can bring this item back with a specific printer to purchase.
Tabled for now.
CQ about elections: I never got ballots?
POI: Several people did not accept their nomination by signing it and still showed up on the ballot.
POI: A lot of units got the wrong number of ballots posted to their doors. We have rules about not giving members more ballots than necessary.
POI: Please give reasonable accommodation to our disabled members in elections.
Steward: I'll make corrections and figure out which officer positions I need to put up more nominations for. Thanks for letting me know, y'all.
Board members' report: We're working on the Hardy House co-signing right now. We're about to be looking for our operations manager, and will be working on a community board representative after that. We've been overseeing the ROC program as well.
Steward report: I hope I didn't appear cross to hear about the election issues; I was just surprised. One thing that keeps slipping through the cracks is regular officer meetings so we can communicate better.
Maintenance report: I'm using a contractor to retile Nolan's unit; if that goes well I have plans to use that contractor in another unit.
Bernard is cooking on Saturday, for the Fourth of July!