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Monday, March 30, 2015

Paying the Bills

It's time to settle accounts as we prepare to leave for home again.  The big item is the accumulated fees for our homeowner's association.  We pay 100 Egyptian pounds every month ($13 U.S.)  This pays for the water, the electricity in the common space and the services of our bawab.  This is a pretty decent deal.  I have heard that other retired people in Florida and Arizona pay lots more - and they don't even have a bawab!  (There is an interesting article on bawab management here.  I usually just refer to this NYT article on bawabs for the uninitiated.)

This past year, we had to pay a number of special assessments, however.  There were problems with the elevator and the water pump.  My neighbor across the hall who happens to handle the money for the association was sorry to have to bring me the bad news when we arrived in January.  These repairs came to 675 E.G.P. (90$ U.S.)  300 of that was to cover a negotiated settlement for water that had not been billed to the building for several previous years.  The good news was that the association was now in possession of a backup water pump should we have another failure.

Here are pictures of the ground floor elevator door in the lobby (it had to be replaced) and the "mechanical room"  under the stairway with the pump.  The pump installation is a little rough by western standards but it works well almost all of the time.
VeggieMarketToo-1 Pump2014-1

We also pay for garbage/trash collection and our electricity.  The garbage collection fee is 10 E.G.P. ($1.33 U.S.) per month.  They come by three times a week.  We seem to maintain a closer relationship with the trash collection folks than most people here.  They get cookies during our stay and most of whatever might be left in the refrigerator at the end.

Electricity is the big item.  The accumulated bills for the past twelve months total 240 E.G.P. - about $31.  Our monthly minimum when we are not here is 4.15 EGP or 55 cents.  I can live with that.

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