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101 Ways To Improve Your Cooperative

CHAPTER SEVEN: DEALING WITH GOVERNMENT

        Nowadays, government can be our best friend or worse enemy. Cooperatives need to be proactive in order for it to be the former, not the latter.

64. Appoint a local government liaison from the Board. This Director is charged with monitoring what the local municipality is doing that affects the Cooperative. Early intervention and advocacy can help stop ordinances like rental inspections, building code enforcement applied to cooperatives as if they were operated by landlords, and the like. In addition, there may be opportunities for funds such as the Community Development Block Grant program which is typically administered by the local government, for qualified cooperatives to do “bricks and mortar” work. The liaison with the help of the Management Agent may be able to petition for such funds.

65. Have your Cooperative Attorney look at your property tax and water bills. A lot of money may be recovered if the taxes and water bills are not fair.

66. The federal government is pushing a lot of grant money through the states and others, for which the Cooperative may qualify. Your Management Agent and Cooperative Attorney should be charged to seek these opportunities. MAHC and NAHC are striving to serve as resources as well.

67. Use your voting power. Become a force in the local and state political arena by inviting elected officials and candidates to speak to your membership. Encourage your members to vote at election time (but do not support specific candidates). This will go a long way to giving your Cooperative, as well as the cooperative movement, a voice in your city hall and state house, so you can advocate against anti-cooperative laws.

68. Support MAHC and NAHC, organizations that are striving to advocate on behalf of the cooperative movement in Washington and at the state levels.

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