Brooks House Finance is run through two accounts:
a) the Brooks account - which is the house's money used to pay for utilities and food
b) the COUCH account - where your room rent goes, and where we pay NASCO Properties from
2) At the end of each month each resident at Brooks House will owe two checks:
a) A Food/Utility check to be paid to "Brooks" -- the amount owed varies from month-to-month. The formula is explicitly defined in the House Charge Form. We also have a house venmo account, @brooks-house, so you can pay your food and utilities that way if you prefer!
b) A rent check to be paid to "COUCH." The amount of rent owed does NOT vary from month-to-month. It is the amount you agreed to pay when you signed your lease.
3) Where to place checks to Brooks and COUCH?
Both Food/Utility Rent Check (to Brooks) and Rent Check (to COUCH) should be placed in the finance coordinator mail pocket.
4) When do I owe my checks?
Checks are owed on the first of the month.
5) What if I pay late?
If you pay late you are assessed a $10 fine, which is added to your Food/Utility rent for the following month, OR if you would like, you can instead discuss with the Labor Coordinator to do one hour of a chore.
6) When will my checks be deposited?
Since I forward your rent checks to Daniella, there is usually a 2-3 week delay between you paying your COUCH rent, and the checks being deposited. By comparison when you pay your food/utility rent (to Brooks), the checks are deposited within 1-2 days of the deadline.
7) What if I have a receipt to get reimbursed?
When you are scheduled to cook for the house you are able to spend up to $10 of additional money on your meal to purchase ingredients beyond those available in the house. Please place receipts to be reimbursed in the finance coordinator pocket with your name written in permanent marker on the receipt. This amount is then subtracted from your food/utility rent for the following month.
8) What if I am out of town?
If you are out of town for four or more consecutive days you are eligible for a discount in food rent. These discounts are assessed the month before -- so if you know you will be out of town for a week in September, you need to email me by the last week in August to get your discount applied, if possible.
9) What if I have a car and want to park it in the house lot or if I have an a/c unit?
If you are planning to have a car in the Brooks House parking lot, you will be assessed a $17/month fee. We also charge $15 a month if you plan on using a/c during the hot months of the year. There is no central air conditioning at brooks.
10) How much is food rent?
Currently we all pay $36.25 per week for food. This amount may go up or down depending on the status of our budget. In the past we paid as much as $45/week.
11) What happens if I miss a house responsibility?
If you are responsible for something at Brooks and you don't do it you are assessed a fine. The fine system is being revised for the new House Handbook, but currently we charge $10 per missed weekly chore (plus additional cooking responsibilities), $10 for late rent checks, $15 for missed cooking (plus add'l cooking), and $10 for missing two consecutive house meetings in a month. As with the late payment fee, you are allowed to discuss with the labor coordinator and instead perform one hour of a chore instead of paying a $10 fee (or 1.5h for $15 fee).
12) How do I find out how my food rent is being applied?
Just ask the food shoppers! You can also request food be bought with your food rent using the whiteboard in the kitchen (we can't promise to buy expensive food items). You can also request that a particular item be picked up on the bulk food orders. The best way to propose that a food item be bought on a regular basis by the house is at House meetings.
13) How much money do we have in our account?
We try to maintain a low balance (the balance at the end of the month, right before rents are due) of $4000. In addition, we generally try to save throughout the year for the CSA boxes we purchase for fresh summer produce (usually $1100). I will give updates on our account at house meetings. As a reminder our Brooks house account is not used for house maintenance. Any money we spend on maintenance projects for the house gets reimbursed from COUCH shared maintenance funds.
14) I have a question on the Brooks account, who do I ask?
The house finance coordinator! Feel free to email questions (email@example.com), or just stop the coordinator in the house or at the house meeting for an issue you think pertinent to the house as a whole.
15) I have a question on the COUCH account, who do I ask?
The COUCH Treasurer!
COUCH hires a bookkeeper, Daniella, to look after the COUCH account. I can forward your inquiry to her, and she usually responds within the week.