Tradeoff Game - Twin Oaks - 1992

Shared by Twin Oaks Community
Tags: Budgets, Economics, Labor, Manager-Planner System

Tradeoff Game
Twin Oaks

Tradeoff Game TO-C1


If you are new to playing the Trade-off Game, or if you could use a refresher on the fine points, please refer to a paper called Econ 101. There is a copy posted on the O&I, one in the planner mailbox, X2, and one in the designated Trade-off Game area in Zhankoye.


Average population: 74
Average weekly quota: 45
Slack: 5%
Labor weeks in 1992: 52
Weeks available: 45 (based on avg 7 weeks vacation/member/year)
300 hours have been set aside for Pier One Strategy Development Fund

Total ongoing labor requests: 149, 646 hrs

Planner take on ongoing: 146,233 hrs

Hours available for OTRAs if you use planner take: 10,810


Net income: $518,900
Buffer: $50,000
Baseline: $244,546


Total ongoing money requests: $198, 622

Planner take on ongoing: $190,130

Money available for OTRAs if you use planner take: $34,224


OTRA input column. This year we are giving people the opprotunity to register support for and concerns about OTRAs, beyond their resource allocation "votes." To the left of each OTRA there is a column titled "support & concerns." For five OTRAs you would like to see passed although you don't have the resources to fund them, put an "S" to the left of the name of the OTRA. Mark a "C" next to the OTRAs (again, up to five) that you have concerns about, and write comments on your game (or on an attached sheet) to explain your concerns. (For example, you may wish to see more process on a particular OTRA, beyond what is required.) This input will be looked at by the planners primarily on OTRAs that receive marginal support to more accurately gauge the sentiment of the community.

We prefer that you limit yourself to 5 support and 5 concerns comments on the game if possible, to keep analysis of the game manageable.

Capital investment OTRAs. The planners want to support and encourage the community's move toward capital investment that reduces our expenses. To that end we went through the OTRAs and selected those that a) have a quick payback period (five years or less) and b) reduce our use of expensive, nonrenewable resources. The money for these OTRAs will come out of working capital, but the labor still needs to be approved on the Trade-off Game.

The Planners hope this establishes a precedent for future trade-off games. We want to encourage more capital investment in projects that cut ongoing expenses in domestic areas. (Income areas are already able to make cost-cutting investments without going through the Trade-off Game.)

The OTRAs for 1992 that fit this category are: ZK Wood Boiler, Llano Solar Hot Water, and Oneida Hot Water.

Pier 1 Strategy Development fund. In light of the community's expressed desire to become less dependent on Pier 1 and our most recent motivation to pursue this strategy with renewed enthusiasm (the small Pier 1 Spring order for 1992), the Planners have set aside a lavor fund of 300 hours for developing money-saving and income base-broadening projects. If and when any of these develop into full-fledged income areas before the next Trade-off Game, we will probably do what we did when the tofu business moved to Twin Oaks, and "create" hours for it out of slack labor or borrow from other budgets. These hours have been subtracted from available labor and appear nowhere else on this game.

Lower-quota OTRAs. We changed Rap's "½ year of Lower Quota" OTRA to complement Cassie's lower-quota OTRA. Either would be calculated over the entire year, if passed.

Fixed budgets. The hours for Income areas are written in on your Trade-off Game. These hours are fixed because our income projections are based on these hours.

Federation money and hours are also fixed. Basically our Federation dues are a "tax" that we pay for being part of the Federation. This year we will be getting a $1200 rebate on our dues because of donations to the Federation. This rebate isn't deducted from the figure on the Game because we can't count on it to reduce our dues every year.

Sick and Pension are fixed as well. These budgets represent our best guesses of how many hours will be used, and they depend on how much people will be sick and how old the membership will be (neither of which is controllable through budgets.)


· Battery carts. This is a new managership, no longer included in the Auto budget. We don't have reliable numbers about how many hours it will take to maintain them. The Planners are inclined to be conservative this first year.

· The confusion around the New Member Mother (New Member Father? New Member Parent?) is over now with the creation of the New Member Manager. This area now has its own labor budget and is no longer part of the Membership team (which has taken a labor cut of 40 hours to help fund it.) The Planners feel that taking care of new members is important and have funded this area generously.

· A few years ago Equipment Maint was split into 2 areas: Equipment Maintenance and Small Equipment Maintenance. This year we are re-combining them into one area again. The numbers on the Trade-off Game are totals of the 2 areas.
· We are creating a homeschool budget. This will replace the now defunct Oakley budget.
· After 3 years as an OTRA, Herbs is now an income area. Hildegard is the manager.
· Vehicle Maint (Auto). From a comparison of the 1991 budget with 1991 projected spent, it may seem that the Auto budget is unconscionably overspent. It is not. It looks that way because vehicle chargebacks cover most vehicle maintenance costs.

In 1990, vehicle use rates were increased to cover vehicle replacement. 1991 was the first full year with the new rates, and so far they seem sufficient to cover gas, maintenance, and replacement. Any money left over from the combined Auto budget and chargebacks, after expenses, is put into the following year's budget in an earmarked vehicle replacement fund. This allows us to accrue enough money to replace large vehicles which cost more than one year's accumulation from chargebacks can cover. This fund does not appear on the game.

So, what is the Auto budget for? It covers community trips (Louisa, C'ville, R'mond) and subsidizes allowance rates for personal vehicle use.


There are a few ongoing areas where Planner take differs significantly from the request. We believe these bear explaining.

· Meta. Metas are assigned based on the ratio of children to adults. The Meta request for two metas on at all times is based on having Harper, Simone, Zoey, Elijah, and possibly Mia. The planner's take is significantly lower than the request for the following reasons: frequently there is one or more kid on vacation so there doesn't need to be as many metas per shift; the metas can do their scheduling a little tighter in order not to have more metas on than are needed; Brenda's approach to childcare, frequently doing other work while taking care of Elijah, might cut down on the number of shifts with two metas assigned.

· We're counting on pregnancies not happening until later in the year than the child board estimates.

· We're calculating vehicle use on the basis of having Louisa trip continue to be assigned at 5.0 hours/trip M-F. Louisa trippers don't always have to go in twice a day. One trip a day is often adequate.

· We have cut the Holidays request because some of the holidays requested are also OTRAs. If people want to put hours into holidays there are plenty of OTRAs that provide that opportunity.

· Movement Support didn't assign all of their hours this year. We prefer to see more evidence that requested hours will be used before we recommend significant increases to budgets. Also, there is a Movement Support OTRA where people can put their hours if they so choose.

· The planner take on sick hours is smaller than the Health Team request because we don't expect the pattern of hours being claimed but not back-requed to change next year.


Ongoing Budgets. Look at the history of each area, its previous budgets, previous assigned and done hours, this year's managerial request, and Planner take. Additional details for each area are in the red notebooks available in Zhankoye.

The Planner take may be lower than the requested or the same. Planner take will almost never be higher than a manager's request because ongoing budgets already have the tendency to inflate, and it is difficult to cut back on them. If large, unexpected but justifiable expenses come up in midyear, the Planners can allow a budget to overspend. (this is one thing slack labor and buffer money are intended for.) If a manager wants extra resources to do special projects, an OTRA is the place to ask for these. If ongoing budgets were increased to cover exceptional expenses, this would distort the representation they give of the community's ongoing needs and priorities.

Feel free to use or ignore our take, but your total labor and money totals for the game must not exceed the totals available. You can also ask questions of a planner while you fill out your game. We will try to be in Zhankoye while the game is out.

Decide what you think each budget should be and fill it in under the "YOUR TAKE" column. When you have done this for each area, add these to get council totals. Then transfer your totals to the designated palce on the totals page. After adding all the council totals, subtract the labor and money numbers from the corresponding total labor available or total money available. These are the amounts you have left for OTRAs.

If you want more for OTRAs than these totals allow, go back and cut a little more from ongoing. If you don't want to fund many (or any) project OTRAs, you can pad the ongoing budgets or vote for savings and leisure (lower-quota, day-off, or holiday) OTRAs.

We have printed the labor figures in bold-face and the money in italics, but also watch the titles. It's easy to confuse labor and money (especially after hours of looking at a blur of numbers.) Labor for each area comes first, then money. Some areas only have one or the other.

OTRAs. Keeping in mind roughly the total amount of money and labor you have allowed for all OTRAs, pencil in the amounts you want to spend on each OTRA project and purchase that interests you. Please do not enter amounts lower than the minimum or higher than the maximum amount requested. Such entries on your Game will be discounted.

If you have questions about any OTRA, the OTRA notebooks with the full explanation from the sponsors are available in Zhankoye, and you can ask a planner for help with this or any other section of the Trade-off Game.

Every year the planners have to return games for correction to people whose numbers don't add up to less than or equal to the avialable labor or money. Please double-check your math!!! Calculators, pencils, and scratch paper will be available in ZK, and can be found around the community.