House Finances

The finances of a co-op house can be very confusing!

The following information is based on content from Cloyne coordinators and members, and a Spring 2021 presentation by Katie Alducin, BSC Accounts Payable Specialist.

How money in the BSC works

Below is a description of how BSC finances are currently structured. This structure has roughly existed since the late 1960s, when the BSC board voted to decentralize some budgets. Board could vote to change this structure at any time.

Centralized Expenses

Items that are shared equally across the BSC — things like capital improvements, recruitment, taxes, bond payments, major maintenance, insurance, student/professional staff wages, etc.

Decentralized Expenses

Some of your rent is allocated exclusively for the benefit of and is controlled directly by the house. This money comes from 3 places:

  • Board-Approved Budgets: by semester and annually
  • Roll-Over Funds: Money unspent from previous semesters
  • Fundraising / Member Fees: Money raised from current members – i.e. Media Fees & Social Fees (see next section)

Member Fees & Use of Budgets

Every semester there are a number of budgets that come either from a member fee or via our House Account. Any coordinator (or any other member) may propose a budget.

Coordinators who always* submit fees: Network (internet), Social, and Health. Coords who sometimes submit fees or budgets are: Historian, Hardware (for printer ink/paper), Garden, Dungeon, and Project. The Community Coordinator gets the Theme Budget approved by Central (for anti-oppression workshops, support circles, academic theme stuff, etc.).
*as a matter of precedent, not policy!

You get to choose the the items/services you’re proposing to be purchased, the level of discretion you have to make choices beyond Council approval, the amount per person (if a fee) or the total amount, and whether people can opt out (or opt in, and under what conditions). Of course, Council can always make amendments to your proposal.

These budgets can come from member fees (need to be submitted by Week 3) or from the House Account. Certain coords (e.g., Academic) can also pull from the Theme Budget that the Community Coords set with the Cooperative Experience Manager at Central Office. Even though the Theme Budget doesn’t require house approval, it is cooperative to get house input and formally vote on it!

You should also consider your request with respect to our current House Account balance (see below).

What is the approval process for using funds?

All purchases over $150 require approval from House Council (except food/maintenance by those coordinators)

There are also special budgets with their own requirements:

  • Furniture: requires pre-approval from the Operations Manager and House Council (different tiers/approvals -can get confusing so check out the furniture policy)
  • HAPS: requires pre-approval from Central Maintenance and House Council
  • Habitability: requires pre-approval from Operations Manager or Operations Assistant and House Council

How do I know how much money my house has spent?

Check your email for House Account Budget Reports (aka HABRs)! Ask the facilities coordinator or house president if you need help accessing it.

Cloyne 5-Year Budget Visualization

Three-line graph of CLO hab, food, and house accounts fluctuating from 2016-2021.

More Resources