Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How TLA Rates are arrived at

TLA's are greedy, but cunning with it. The steps to TLA budgets (I've coded the rules and relationships into a very few of the cubes that most TLA's rely on for quickly estimating the consequences of various settings) run like this:

  1.     Gather all the blue-sky budgets from every nook and cranny of the whole show and bung 'em into the hopper
  2.     The 'Rates Required' parent object gives the first, horrendous result. As does 'Capex Required' which feeds back into 'Rates Required' via depreciation, and also (of course) feeds 'Cashflow', and 'Financing Required'. Everyone promptly utters a few well-chosen but un-minuted Anglo-Saxon words, and the real work begins
  3.     Firstly, a general paring of obviously stupidly inflated budgets and admonishments to their managers (but Promotions for the most egregious....)
  4.     Secondly, a concerted effort to move the less obvious budgets into areas that can have 'Revenue from Modest Fees' (and thus, entirely coincidentally, subtract from 'Rates Required')
  5.     Trim 'Capex' (which trims 'Depreciation' and hence 'Rates Required') OR (and more subtly) move it sideways into - ya guessed it - Activities with Fees Income
  6.     Take another look at 'Rates Required' and see if it passes the obvious Smell Test - will Councillors pass this?
  7.     Take a cursory look at the Fee-generating activities (where most of the sideways dumping has occurred) and see if They look acceptable (or are levied on such odious categories of subject that no-one cares - landlords, large businesses, car salespersons, hoteliers).
  8.     It's highly likely at this point that 'Rates Required' is still way beyond the pale, so Phase 2 commences - alter the incidence of Rates via uniform charges, separate rates, more Modest Fees and so on.
  9.     So 'Rates Required' is now fed by a plethora of Rates, Charges, Special Rates, Fees Income, and Differential rates. Note that the total has not altered - that is too obvious to mention at this point - the main effort is to disguise it as competently as possible
  10.     The final check - are all the now-diffused sources of 'Rates Required', 'Fees and Charges' etc - sufficiently opaque as to survive public scrutiny? If Yes, carry on and levy 'em, else go back two clicks and obfuscate some more

One should never watch Laws, Sausages and Rates being made, to extend a very ancient could shake one's faith in Human Nature....

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