News & Notes 636:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) January 2016 Report

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636 icon.jpg   News & Notes 636
13 February 2016

Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) January 2016 Report

Regular members: Anandi (Auroville Board of Services), Chali (Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research), David (Forest group), Michael (Auroville Unity Fund), Ranjith (Working Committee), Rathinam (Budget Coordination Committee), Sauro (L'avenir d'Auroville), Sonja (Housing Service), and Ulli (Auroville Board of Commerce).
Temporarily out of station: Matriprasad (Auroville Council); Jeff (Farm Group).
Other: Mr. Srinivasmurty (Finance & Administrative Officer, Auroville Foundation; currently Secretary-in-Charge) is no longer attending.

Trust & unit topics

The Auroville Board of Commerce (ABC) recommended, and FAMC approved, the reappointment (after initial 2 year term) of executive Anita at White Ant Studio. The other executives are Fabian, and Elvira.

ABC recommended, and FAMC approved, the reappointment (after initial 2 year term) of executive Shandra at Eye See. The other executives are Sourya, and Aurovici.

ABC recommended, and FAMC approved, executive changes at New Dawn Carpentry. Appointments of Chaitanya and Dhanasu, and the resignation of Carlos. The other executive is Ricardo.

ABC recommended, and FAMC approved, creation of the new commercial unit, Aurinoco Systems with executives Chandresh, Manu, and JV. The activities as listed on the unit application are: Auroville community network, including fiber optic infrastructure deployment across whole of Auroville; setting up network centers and community centers to bring intranet services to Auroville units and residents.

ABC recommended, and FAMC approved, the formal closure of the unit “Sunbliss Cafe”.

The Auroville Board of Services (ABS) recommended, and FAMC approved, Auroville Health Service executive resignation of Alice. The remaining executives are Manfred, and Franca.

The ABS recommended, and FAMC approved, Integral Health Service executive changes: reappointment (after initial 2 year term) of Sumeet, and the resignation of Veronica. The current executives are: Jocelyn B., Ruslan, and Manfred.

The ABS recommended, and FAMC approved, Auroville Village Action Group executive changes: appointment of Bridget, and resignations of Santo, Auralice, and Kathy. The current executive is Abha T.

As requested by the FAMC, the ABS created a provisional new team at Eco Service that started work on a trial basis in mid-December. The team is composed of Kali (Part-time supervisor and liaison to advisers/AV and other outreach (and sales/scrap dealers), Alex (Part-time supervisor, admin (all) and liaison to advisers/AV and other outreach, volunteers, education), and Palani K. (Full-time site manager, maintaining all book records & employee matters). Provisional Advisers for Eco Service are: Ribhu, Chandrah N., Angela R., Shama D., Sourya S., Auralice, Gillian, Marc B.. The ABS has been requested to work with this the team on a budget through 31 March 2016.

FAMC continues to follow the situation at Hers. One member spoke with one of the executives and several pertinent questions were answered. FAMC await an updated Hers trial balance sheet, and information on a first stock taking. FAMC would like to see another executive added to the team, who will work in the Hers shop on a daily basis.

The Free Flow Trust trustees informed FAMC that from 1 April 2016 they would no longer welcome Auroannam under the Trust due to 'non-cooperation'. The trustees have asked Mawite, the executive, to find another Trust. In response to this notice the FAMC wrote Mawite that she needs to be under a Trust or the unit will need to be closed. Mawite was requested to submit a trial balance sheet before the end of the month. Free Flow Trust was requested to document in detail the steps they had taken and the facts concerning “non-cooperation” which was their stated reason for asking Auroannam to leave the Trust. Mawite responded to the FAMC however a trial balance sheet was not submitted. FAMC have asked the Free Flow Trust trustees if they've had renewed contact with Mawite.

FAMC have been reviewing balance sheets in regards to outstanding loans and liabilities. FAMC asked the Guest Facilities Coordination Group (GFCG) to check in with Sharnga Guest House about their loans and liabilities. Some information was provided by the Sharnga Guest House executive. Upon review of this further information the FAMC requested the Guest House Trust that Sharnga Guest House should not allow any further loans (Rs. 5 lakhs and more) without checking with the Trust first (reference the ABS Guidelines). Also the trustees were requested to work with the current executive to identify and appoint a second executive (pending from March 2015).

Finance topics

Nothing new this month.

Land topics

FAMC met with Land Board (LB) members to discuss: stewardship, land purchase and sales, and the Swami land exchange.

Housing topics

Housing Service (HS) and Housing Board (HS/B) wrote to both the BCC and FAMC requesting support to be able to provide additional grant funds to youth, in addition to the usual Rs. 4 lakhs available. An allowable grant would be up to Rs. 7 lakhs only. This is meant for 2nd generation Aurovilians; for youth of Aurovilians living and working in Auroville for many years. The grant would be provided per 'housing', not to an individual, therefore a young couple would be eligible for Rs. 7 lakhs maximum. The request was approved by the FAMC.

FAMC asked L'avenir to provide the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the Humanscapes housing project as soon as practically possible.

It was reported to the FAMC that the HS has gone through the usual process to transfer the housing asset used by Petra Janko. There has been one request for stewardship. Many Auromodele Community residents seem to be favourable to the potential new steward however the closest neighbours are being given 'final say', and they are reportedly often out of Auroville, and are refusing to accept the family who wants to move there. FAMC has requested the HS to take a collaborative and cooperative approach: invite the residents to meet; ask for detailed objections which may be responded to.

FAMC was asked by the HS/B to consider the best use of the housing asset formerly stewarded by Juanita, in Felicity. The exploration is ongoing.

HS has been allocated site permission in the International Zone for temporary housing. The land is being encroached and needs fencing for protection. FAMC approved in principle to pay for required fencing from cyclone relief / land protection funds. Two estimates will be submitted to the FAMC.

Other topics

The FAMC and Working Committee (WCom) met and discussed:

  1. Swami land exchange status;
  2. space allocation in general (underutilized assets);
  3. Governing Board (GB) approved “Guidelines” (for Commercial Trusts and Units under the Auroville Foundation) to be updated and changed to “regulations”.

Gowri and Raman have continued to live at Service Farm while talks of using the land for exchange have been ongoing. FAMC received a communication from them that help is needed with fencing, water, and house repairs. The HS will see to the housing asset. FAMC have sanctioned funds to repair a part of the fence that was damaged by TNEB work, and to establish a water connection with the closest village. Perhaps a 'country' bore well will be installed since the ancient one has collapsed and is unrepairable. In parallel, FAMC are insisting that access to New Service Farm no longer be blocked by the adjacent farm manager.

The FAMC met with the Auroville Council subgroup that worked on the FAMC mandate revisions. There was an open sharing. Several points were clarified by the subgroup, and changes the FAMC requested were noted by the subgroup.

Following up from previous reports

In September it was reported that the ABC wrote to the FAMC that guest houses are incoming generating units and should be moved from being under the purview of the ABS to that of the ABC. In January the FAMC met with representatives of ABC, ABS, and the GFCG to discuss guest house registration. There was an open sharing during which it became clear that flexibility is needed to address the current reality. In the subsequent conversation among the FAMC members it was decided to create a new Trust to oversee those guest houses that offer more than accommodation. FAMC has formed a subgroup to formulate the Trust special objectives, and make any trustee recommendations. This is a time-sensitive task as new Trusts are approved by the Governing Board (GB), and their next meeting is at the beginning of March.

In December it was reported that the FAMC sent to the HS/B a “Housing Cooperative Trust” proposal. The HS/B expressed interest and requested support to take it further. The FAMC have formed a subgroup. Those invited who had the time and inclination to participate are: Lyle, Louis, Min, Satyakam, and Ulli. They have been requested to prepare a detailed, implemental proposal.

In December it was reported that the FAMC expressed its appreciation for the detailed work presented in the Unity Fund Annual Report 2014-15 and had requested further details. The additional information was provided and the FAMC continue to explore what may be the best use, if any, of funds held in reserve.

In December it was reported the FAMC asked the BCC to comment on a proposal to the many Auroville restaurants and eateries. This month the FAMC and BCC have written to the following Auroville eateries asking for them to comment on a proposal to increase the contribution: GP Cafe, Cafe Le Morgan, Dreamers Cafe, Coffee Ideas, Farm Fresh, Ganesh Bakery, Happy Food Restaurant, Kofpu, La Terrace, Le Gourmet Bakery, Madhuram Restaurant, Naturellement, New Creation Frites, Right Path Cafe, Roma's Kitchen, Tanto Pizzeria, Taste Korean, Well Cafe. To date Tanto, La Terrace and Right Path Cafe shared comments. FAMC await responses from a majority of these eateries.

A mutually beneficial technology license agreement has been finalized with an outside party and Aqua Dyn.

Previously it has been reported that the FAMC was insisting that Ramachandran pay off some outstanding debts he owed to Auroville. The total amount was paid by him before 31 December 2015 as requested. The FAMC are happy to be able to report that this matter has come to a positive conclusion.