Please Donate and help us:
Present: Andy, Beth, Charles, Greg, Hannah, Jess, Jesse, Jessica, Lindsay, Mary, Meghan, Mike, Nolan, Paul, Ryan, Sarah, Victor, William
Lindsay and Mary here for their first meeting
Victor: What's your education, and what do you teach?
Lindsay: Have a Masters in Philosophy. I taught an ethics class at Texas State. Might go for a Ph.D. eventually. Right now I work at Sweetish Hill Bakery.
Mary accepted for membership
Victor: We spent a frightening amount of money this week. Finally got Cynthia's stove hooked up and working. Got a new air conditioner for 205. Cost $2700. Just about wipes out our capital budget for the year. Not quite, but have other expenses which will pretty much kill it. May well be 40 years old. uses a refrigerant that is banned now. They put $520 worth of refrigerant in it. You have to do that just to find out what's wrong. In order to repair it, we would have had to do some cutting and welding. Would have got the expense up to $1,100. Because of where the leaks were, we would've found that we needed to spend another $1,000-$1,200 for a compressor. So it looked like we would have $2,200 in a 40-year-old unit using refrigerant that costs $100/pound. If we had put the same six pounds of R410 in the unit, would have only cost $235. Since it's a banned refrigerant, its cost will keep going up. More news may be next week. We're having trouble with the air conditioner in 105. It's not cleaning. Who knows what we're going to find there. A professional apartment set-up like this is really the maintenance load of 20 coops. The folks in 208 have had a roof leak for four years. Had a couple people come out. We got estimates from $485-$700. We'll have this leak professionally taken care of not just because this does a good job but because they're going to strip back a lot of the gravel and the tar, so that we can get a look at what kind of shape this roof is in, so we'll have a better idea of what our timeframe is for replacing it. Roofs like this generally last for about 50 years. We've got 45 on this one. it's nothing like a roof on a house. It's concrete with wood and tar on top. If water gets on the concrete, makes the whole roof disintegrate. It's not at all like shingles on a wood roof where there's a separate deck. It all crumbles at once. May be a very major expense.
Greg: Do you mean this repair, or the replacement?
Victor: The replacement. Usually $80-90,000. It could be that the price will double when we pull this off. The plywood might be rotten. The $480 might be a rosy figure. Might be what other people were figuring in when they gave us such high bids.
hannah: Have you had a chance to let Daniel and NP know about this?
Victor: No. Didn't realize that was my job.
Hannah: I would so we can start planning and seeing what loans and leverage we can use. They may be able to help us and may not.
Victor: I'll know more by Wednesday. The stove that came out of Cynthia's apartment has an electric ignitor in it. I think it's worth rebuilding. Cost us $700 for a new stove. It's a modern, safe design, so I think it's well worth doing.
William: Andy and I just repaired Claude's door. Was knocked in by EMS about a month ago. We hastily put a door up. Took us about six hours, but looks good now.
Donny: I have looked into several places for gates. Most do not put any pricing online. I've sent out for quotes and heard back from a couple people.
Meghan: Meat is very much wanted. We are going to include meat in the menus as long as it stays within the allocated budget. Going to be up to the menu planner and the chef's discression. We're also going to get a suggestion box for anything you guys want to eat. Do we have enough chefs?
Ryan: We had $16,616 from rent, which is really close to our budget amount. $200 under, but that number comes from an average. The amount we'll receive at the end of the year will be higher since our rents are higher than what Susie had. Doing good on all of our expenses. Under on our lease payments, under on trash pick-up, under on gas by $100, under on utilities by $800, but still over on maintenance. Was an intense month for maintenance because of a/c replacement. Minor maintenance over by $100. We made a deficit of $1000, but $1,900 was capital improvements.
Mike: Why are we under budget for lease payments?
Ryan: Not really sure how they calculated the lease payment before. Sasona paying what they've always paid. We pay the difference. Somehow that's a smaller number than what Daniel thought it would be.
Donny: We're worried about using most of our capital improvement budget, and only in 3-4 months of the fiscal year.
Ryan: If we only have another a/c replacement, we won't have the budget. We would have the cash, so could still do it. After next month, should still have over $10,000 in cash reserve, but can't spend without going into deficits. Good for renovation projects so we can afford to pay for those, but they're not budgeted.
Donny: We have $11-12,000 for minor maintenance. If there's a way we could take from that,
Ryan: We can, but we're on budget for minor maintenance.
Jessica: Nicole has tried to contact NASCO to see what they could do about the budget.
Ryan: Me, Trip, Daniel, and Nicole are going to try to have a conf call.
Jessica: According to Nicole's research, they're not willing to note things on checks. Splitting up the budget should be up to the house.
Nolan: The spammers found our wiki. They created a bunch of fake pages and profiles. There's a possibility that some legitimate edits were caught since we reverted things. If you made a change on Thu or Fri and it went away, let me know. I moved a lot of old content over. There's a page on house policies that the automated tool failed miserably on. I'm going to port manually but consider the wiki done. If you need something else ported, try to port it yourself. If I need to edit the wiki, would be my entire job. We have a translation plug-in so we can translate our pages into Spanish. I don't want to make assumptions about the usability of our Spanish pages, but, if we can translate agendas on the wiki and print them out, we can have them in one place. Charles is here.
Mike: Can you do something about the spammers?
Nolan: There's a plugin that will send out an email verification link.
Donny: As of 5pm tonight, there is a bunch of spam on our wiki.
Hannah: Wanted to thank Don for doing unrequired labor on the surveillance system. We got the username and password.
Beth: I have a second draft of the labor chart. Okayed it with everyone except Molly and Cynthia. Courtyard clean is now going to be two hours. Dinner clean will be one hour. Jessica and Erin are only required to do one hour of labor, but they have graciously volunteered to cook when we're having trouble finding people. Some people can't do 5-7 every week reliably. Wanted to know if anyone had an objection to compensating them in some way. I think we should give them a free meal on the night they cook. We don't want this to be for anyone who just wants to do extra labor. If you have any thoughts on policies for no-shows, let me know.
Jessica: Whatever you guys feel is fine with me.
Donny: For the next meeting, could you get a bare-bones no-show procedure?
Hannah: A fine amount of $10/hour.
Beth: It's really easy to make up right now. Lots of empty spaces for courtyard cleans and commons cleans. We need to decide at what point you start incurring fines and how long you have to make it up.
Paul: Not much to report. Pushed up the squash. Chopped up the noliander(sp?) because it's poisonous. Some new labor issues with watering this last week. Will see how the new chart goes. Will try to find some lantana near the dumpster.
Victor: I think Z and I are going to donate that.
Hannah: Will you clear up the pots that aren't doing anything? Maybe move into the storage sheds?
Sarah: Could you make sure they're consistently against the wall?
Hannah: The heavy ones are a lot less likely to be dragged around. I think getting rid of the empties might help.
Hannah: Travis and Leslie moved up to 201. We can start thinking pretty soon what we would like to do here. Also talked about renovations. I think that would really improve our quality of life. Travis and Sarah kindly translated a Spanish contract. They will be signing the English version. Will be talking to Mari and Teofilo since their lease ends at the end of the month. Carleton's daughter called me a few days ago. Carleton is in 108. He's going to be moving to a nursing home. Denise and kids are wanting to take over the lease. They're willing and kind of expected to sign a coop lease. I posted some notices about end-of-lease stuff, needing to attend a meeting. Greg is moving out at the middle of the month. Was hoping Gatlin would be here. Got a contract break policy on the agenda for tonight.
Nolan: Since we have a new Spanish summary and translation feature on the wiki, I wonder if we could have the Spanish on the wiki.
Mike: Do we need to elect a new NP board rep if Gatlin moves out?
Nolan: My vision is that we can start out small, with just one level and then bring it to the entire coop, and the neighborhood, and eventually bridge over to Sasona. I realize we're spending a lot of money on maintenance. I just want to point out that, if this doesn't seem like a terribly big priority, I'd like to point out that a lot of us are dependent on wireless being funded by someone who might release his contract. I am very appreciative of what he's done. If we don't get this under our control, a lot of us won't have wireless in a month and a half.
Charles: Mesh is a way for radios to auto-find each other and expand the network. Allows to extend the network out without wires. You could start with a hot spot in the courtyard. Would cost $200. Would include a radio and mounting gear. If you have a common point to bring internet into, would probably be a bit more than that, since you also need a router to get out of the internet. I recommend Time Warner since they don't have a prohibition on sharing the bandwidth. You'll need a business class. Will cost between $200-500.
Paul: What kind of range would this hotspot have? Would we get it in our apartments?
Charles: I'd have to do an RF survey. With only 1 AP, your throughput isn't going to be very good. On a hard-wired connection, if you ran cat5 in everyone's apartments, we won't have that problem.
Greg: Explain access point vs. radio.
Charles: A radio is an element within an access point. A radio is half-duplex. Whatever they advertise, except about half of that. You put in 2-3 APs, you can roam around, and extent your coverage. I would strongly recommend at least two APs, one on each floor. Your router will be another $200 or so, including shipping.
Sarah: Looking at a minimum of $600?
Charles: I would say so, and between $200-500/month, depending on your options.
Nolan: Tonight I'd like to get us to commit to a minimum to give us coverage for some apartments. We'll see how it works. Would like to give everyone decent coverage, then build it out later.
Charles: Individuals could buy access points if they want to. Distribution radios are going to be a lot more expensive, especially if you have several APs. People could purchase their own APs. If you're a light user, you could buy one costing $30. A heavy user could buy a $100 one.
??: Would the APs provided plug directly into the business-class service? Could people make wired connections?
Charles: The APs have one connection out. You could have a switch.
Nolan: Do you think $600 would cover us for hardware, as far as two APs and a router?
Charles: I'd want to double-check that and put it on a spreadsheet, but yes. Also, I'm not making any money from this.
Nolan: We're going to be in a situation where we'll lose our wireless. Right now, we have an internet plan for the time being that we're not being penalized for sharing. Maybe we could get the hardware setup in the next week or two and hook it up to Gatlin's service. If it works, in a couple of months, we could look at hooking it up to our own provided service.
Charles: I have APs if you want to test. You would need cable. I could loan the APs for a few weeks.
Nolan: How are these APs powered?
Charles: Over ethernet.
Ryan: Wondering about the functionality of encryption.
Charles: Security is very important. Standard encryption would be WPA-2.
Charles: Need to price out cabling. We've had networks without outdoor cabling and had all kinds of problems.
Ryan: How many people are relying on Gatlin's wireless right now?
Ryan: We've got a one-year contract for our internet. We could fund by getting people to pay money in. Might get a small amount of people using public internet to jump-start the process. As peoples' contracts expire, they can start paying into it.
Charles: i believe Time Warner can be month-to-month if you don't take one of their specials.
Nolan: I kind of agree in principle but worry about how much we ask on top of living at the coop. Sasona has free laundry and free internet. In the mid to long term, we should look at these little costs that we add on to the rent. I think it makes us less appealing.
Greg: We still don't have enough in the way of numbers to know what we're getting into.
Nolan: Maybe modify the motion to test and allocate a $200 expense for cables that we'll have to use anyway. Would give us more data points. I wonder if we should have it in the commons so that anyone can reset it.
Charles: It is rock solid; you should not need to reset it.
Ryan: I think there is one fund we could potentially tap. Still deficit funding, but the move-out assistance could be used. Only one person has taken it.
Charles: You'll also need a switch as well.
Nolan: Can you let us borrow APs, a router, and a switch?
Charles: You don't strictly need the switch. Could potentially use the router. How long would the run be between the internet and the APs? You lose power over distance.
Nolan: Downstairs, and at the center of the courtyard? I'm worried that being upstairs might complicate things.
Charles: Could probably loan you a couple of APs out of my lab. Wouldn't want to do too much more than that.
Greg: I've got a four-port router.
Charles: $187 on Amazon for a 1000-foot cable, plus $21 for shipping.
Nolan: I motion that we spend $200 on cable.
Hannah: At some point, Paul is going into a unit. He would prefer to stay on a month-to-month contract. I don't care about keeping track of one person on a month-to-month contract. I'm worried about having them in the future and the membership coordinator will forget about it, and we'll lose money on a room. I motion to allow Paul to stay on a month-to-month contract after leaving the commons.
Meghan: If everyone has a mandatory six-month lease, why would he be exempt?
hannah: He's on one already. I also don't particularly want to hustle to find somebody else. Paul thinks that, at the end of October or so, he may or may not stay here. I don't want to have him move out sooner by upping the ante.
Meghan: Why would he move and not Nolan?
Hannah: Sarah would want to visit Nolan, so Nolan needs to be downstairs.
William: Do we have associates who want to move in soon?
Hannah: We have other associates, but don't think they want to move in right now. I see us having several rooms open in the next few months. I think Andy is going to get a room soon (end of Sept/Oct).
Donny: I think I might support this if it is of limited duration. If his plans change, then he could sign a contract.
Hannah: I think one of the strengths of a coop is that we can balance policy with individuals' needs and timelines. I think Paul has been very good to us. Willing to do this but wanted to throw it out since it's nonstandard.
Greg: Why does he need to move upstairs?
Hannah: I'm ready to start doing more work on the commons. We have functions and classes and events we'd like to have here.
Sarah: The longer Paul lives down here, the longer it's going to take for us to renovate the bathroom.
Motion to allow Paul to remain month-to-month until the end of December.
Hannah: If we don't have a policy, gets tense and ugly. Greg's been great about communicating. That's been fine, but there will be people who will be less communicative. The point of contracts is that they shouldn't be easy to break.
Nolan: Any thoughts about the idea I sent along in the email?
Hannah: I would be willing to add it on if it's a 90% quorum. I want it to be higher than 75% because I want people not to count on being able to break that fee.
Nolan: I'm generally in favor. I had a situation at Sasona where I had a bully and didn't feel unsafe. My concern is that, if that person was here, then it would break the quorum. I agree with you in spirit. I just want to have some way where, if you feel threatened, then you can get out.
Jess: That's a great clause to have in there. In the case of individual safety, we can lower that quorum. If we are threatened and there's not a way for that to be dealt with, the community needs to deal with that.
Ryan: I think those things should be separate from our contract release policy. I don't think they should be included at all.
Sarah: I wonder if we add something about safety and lowering the quorum.
Hannah: I'd like someone to bring a motion next week. Habitually, at Sasona, when a member asks for something, they would give it 99% of the time, even if it shot us in the foot.
Nolan: I can do that.
Ryan: I don't think $100 makes it really, really hard to break a contract. I think it's annoying but doesn't make it really difficult.
Jesse: $100 for somebody who has a job isn't a difficulty, but we may end up having people for whom $100 becomes insurmountable.
Nolan: If I'm having issues with a member, and the community isn't up to the task of dealing with that, it would suck if the community asks me to pay $100. I wouldn't be able to do that.
Meghan: At any other apartment complex that I've lived at, you have to pay out your lease, but, if it's a roommate situation, you can find someone to rent your room.
Ryan: Any number less than your deposit is something you could pay, since we could just withhold that.
Hannah: Susie's policy was $100. I'm willing to entertain thoughts of charging more. It's still a number to make it sting. I've seen it act as a deterrent. Also, another part of this policy is that you're still liable for the rest of your lease until we find somebody. I think it should be a top priority to replace somebody, but, if I can't find somebody, then you're still responsible.
Nolan: I don't think it's fair to say that, if someone can afford their deposit, then we can withhold it. If I didn't get back my deposit, then I can't pay here.
Mike: I'd think of the $100 as compensation for the coop for the extra work in terms of having a new person moves in. Apartments usually let people sublet. I don't see why it would need to be extraordinarily difficult.
Hannah: We don't want it to be too hard for people to break a contract since then we're living with a hostile and unproductive member when we could have someone who is on board.
Jess: While it's important to look at what apartments do, this is not an apartment. We can't create community if we're creating situations of ill will. If someone wants to get out of their lease, then something has happened to them. We shouldn't block them from fulfilling what they have going on in their lives.
Nolan: I'm considering wanting to completely abolish the $100. We don't want a cooper who doesn't want to do their work. We have several new people applying each week. At Sasona or anything else in town, you'll have a hard time filling it because you're looking to fill a room. I think it's easier to fill a room than an apartment. I wonder if we could leave out the $100 out and see how it goes. If we find that we have a problem, then we can solve the problem, rather than saying we'll solve a problem that we don't know if we'll have.
Hannah: I am totally opposed to abolishing the $100 fee. Coops and flakes overlap widely. If people think that they can just get out of their contract, then they will, and we'll lose money. You're contractually liable if we don't find somebody, but collecting that money is a different situation. If it costs us $200 to take the person to court, will we ever do it?
Jessica: Hannah has been a membership coordinator at three different coops.
Sarah: As someone who has spent the past two days looking intensely at the contract, it says explicitly that, if you want to get out of your contract before your contract is up, then you have to pay money.
Hannah: Says that we have the right to accelerate payments, but Daniel says that the legality is dubious.
Sarah: Will this become part of the contract?
Hannah: I don't think it needs to. Looking at doing some minor reformating of the contract soon. We've discovered that there's information not on the contract that we need to evict people.
Meghan: If we don't have a policy, why would we have six-month leases, rather than month-to-month leases?
A contract break is a release of the member from their lease.
1. Contract breaks should be requested at least 6 weeks in advance of the requested date of termination.
2. A contract break can be granted by the Membership Coordinator, by a 75% affirmative vote at a house meeting, or as a last resort by the Board. A Membership Coordinator’s decision to grant a contract break can be overturned by a simple 50% majority of a house vote. The Membership Coordinator must inform the house via e-mail that they plan to grant a member a contract break within three days of deciding this with a member.
3. Members who move out before the end of their contract are contractually liable for the vacancy caused by their leaving early until the room is filled or the end of their contract period (whichever comes first.) The Membership Coordinator is expected to prioritize filling this room in order to minimize financial impact on the member breaking contract. If the room cannot be filled, however, the member breaking the contract will remain financially liable.
4. The contract is not tied to a specific room or unit. Section 10 of the Contract gives CHEA the right to reassign members to different rooms at any time. Even if another member swaps to the room or unit of a member who moved out before their contract end date, the member who moved out early still owes money and is still under contract to pay for the vacancy caused by their termination.
5. Money earned from temporary hostelers, who stay in the room of the member who moved out before the end of their contract, will be counted towards the money owed by that member, to pay off that member's balance. The house is under no obligation to find a hosteler for the room.
6. Members who are granted a contract break will be charged a $100 contract break fee.
7. The Membership Coordinator is obligated to grant contract breaks that are due to draft by military, medical causes with note from a doctor (MD), or domestic violence.
Greg: There are companies that lease washing machines.
Ryan: Do we have to pay any money?
Greg: I don't know.
Ryan: We have a budget line item that is laundry income. We have not been making it. Maybe this would be a better option since we could just eat it.
Jessica: What is all the water on the floor?
Victor: We no longer have any big, nasty leaks in there. We do have at least one leak which is incased in concrete. It could potentially be incredibly expensive to fix that leak. Sent out an email asking everybody just to sweep the thing out. I have already patched the pipes that are above concrete. I don't think chipping out concrete and hunting for that is a good idea.
Jesse: Especially if we're thinking about remodeling these two buildings.
Paul: I'd like to see a cost breakdown of this.
Victor: I have talked with other coops who do lease them. They do have to pay for the laundry machines to be put on and a percentage of what is generated is given back, but it does end up costing, not as much as buying, and you don't have to do the maintenance, and that machine is going to die.
Paul: I don't know if it would be more cost-effective to buy our own in the long term.
Motion to have Greg do some research ???
Denise wants to sign a new contract. It's kind of to our advantage to have her take a coop lease, both in terms of money and labor hours, but you could make an argument that it would be more fair to have her on the old lease terms.
Paul: I didn't think we were doing old lease terms anymore.
Victor: How long?
Hannah: Until the end of December. Her father-in-law is leaving. They've been here for some time. Want to live out the terms of their lease.
Nolan: Has she been to two meetings?
Meghan: Do they want to stay past their lease?
Ryan: If they sign a coop lease, would it be for six months?
Hannah: Doesn't have to be.
Meghan: Are they opposed to signing a coop lease?
Hannah: That's what they expect. I told them we would probably have them sign a coop lease since I didn't know if they even could sign the original lease.
Meghan: If they're not opposed and it's beneficial, then why not?
Hannah: it's more money, more labor, what they're ready for. We also didn't plan on that money.
Greg: I'd say to get them on the coop lease.
Andy: Any reason not to have them continue on the lease signed by their relative?
Hannah: It would be advantageous to us. I don't really see any other reason for it.
Sarah: He's in a nursing home. The nursing home being paid for by public funds, and he's maintaining a lease somewhere else, could be considered double-dipping. Wouldn't want to put him in a situation where he's in a nursing home and also legally expected to maintain a lease.
Hannah: Either way, we would put their name on the lease. Also, they did not expect to pay the food program cost. We have done that for people who lived here before the coop.
??: They should come to a meeting. First thing's first.
Hannah: The consensus is for them to be on a coop lease? I don't want to be opportunistic, but, at the same time, we said that all leases would be coop leases. I'll talk to her and get her here.
Hannah: Me and Ryan want to see Little Shop of Horrors at Zilker Park next Saturday. Want to get Sasoonis and La Reunionistas down there.