Temporary Postponement of Association Fees in an Emergency

Finance & Legal 2004-10-21

Summary:

A member household facing a dire emergency may request a postponement of its Association and LTCRF fees - either in whole or in part - for a period no longer than 3 months

Background:

There will be times when a household faces a sudden emergency which makes paying the next month's Association fees impossible. Examples of such emergencies could include illness or injury, or job loss, or a catastrophic loss. This proposal tries to lay out some guidelines for dealing with such an emergency. However, it cannot anticipate every situation or every possible solution.

Proposal:

1. A member household facing a dire emergency may request a postponement of its Association and LTCRF fees - either in whole or in part - for a period no longer than 3 months, so long as those fees can be brought up to date within the following 6 months.
2. The relief sought will be granted automatically, without asking for
verification, after the household fills out a form which indicates how long the postponement is expected to last, how much needs to be postponed [all, or part], and how long it will take to bring the account back up to date. A copy of this form is on our Great Oak WIKI site. The form will be sent to the MEMBER BOOKKEEPER, and to 1 other person designated by the Finance Committee (BOOKKEEPER).
3. No late fees will be charged if this request is made before payment is due.
4. Fees which are simply passed through our books - such as those for meals, or for water use - cannot be postponed in this fashion.
5. If a household believes that it still will not be able to bring its account up to date, it can approach the MEMBER BOOKKEEPER WHO WILL WORK WITH A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE Caring Committee, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM AFFORDABILITY, AND THE BOOKKEEPER to work out some other solution, which will be recorded in writing. Possible alternatives might include:
a. Postponement of all or part of the repayment of fees, on a schedule
up to a year long, if community financial resources permit this.
b. Substitution of work for the payment of money, if the work performed is something that the community would otherwise hire out. This will follow the same guidelines as other work performed by community members for pay. Not all such jobs will be paid at the same hourly rate.
c. In the most extreme circumstances, and only if the community's
financial resources permit, the fees can be waived, and not repaid.
6. Since any waiver of fees, even partially and even temporarily, will need to be covered in some other way, we propose that the Caring Committee establish a "Discretionary CARING Fund," outside the community budget. Member households are invited to make special contributions to this Discretionary CARING Fund, on a completely voluntary basis. The surcharge that is added when households pay their monthly Association fees after the 15th of the month will also be added to this Discretionary Fund. The Caring Fund will not be funded using Association Fees, and can not be used for other general community expenditures, and will be a line item in the community operating budget. THE CARING DISCRENTIONARY FUND WILL NOT BE FUNDED USING ASSOCIATION FEES, AND CANNOT BE USED FOR OTHER GENERAL COMMUNITY EXPENDITURES, AND WILL BE A LINE ITEM IN THE COMMUNITY OPERATING BUDGET.
7. The Treasurer's periodic reports to the community should indicate the amount of fees that have been postponed, without divulging names.

DISCUSSION
We expect that this proposal will need to be implemented only rarely. And we are confident that any household which asks for a postponement of fees will make a sincere effort to catch up as quickly as possible. So far as it is at all possible, confidentiality will be maintained.

PRO
Great Oak's mission statement identifies our goals to include diversity and sustainability. This allows the community to help and support one another, and guards against Great Oak losing any of its members because of a crisis.

CON
This will put a strain on a community budget which is already stretched thin.
It is possible that some members of the community might sometime feel that we're being taken advantage of, by other members; and then the trust which binds us all together could be frayed.

Postponement Request Form

Please fill out and give this to the Great Oak MEMBER bookkeeper. This information will be shared with the the treasurer and kept confidential.

You can postpone part or all of your association fee for up to 3 months. You must bring your account current within 6 months. If you cannot meet these goals please contact the Caring Committee to make other arrangements.

Date: ____________

Household name: ________________________

We need to postpone some or all of our association fee during the time below. We will bring our account current within 6 months.

During the month of ________________ we will pay $__________, leaving a balance of $______________ for our account.

During the month of ________________ we will pay $__________, leaving a balance of $______________ for our account.

During the month of ________________ we will pay $__________, leaving a balance of $______________ for our account.

During the month of ________________ we will pay $__________, leaving a balance of $______________ for our account.

During the month of ________________ we will pay $__________, leaving a balance of $______________ for our account.

During the month of ________________ we will pay $__________, leaving a balance of $______________ for our account.

If our situation changes, we will immediately contact the Caring Committee.

Signed: __________________________

Comments:

Final tweaks added on 10/18/2004, was technically passed on 4/19/2004 but with a few pieces still to be finalized.

Process Comments:

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