The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) sets forth a 6-year schedule and financing strategy to accomplish necessary public improvements and meet infrastructure needs. The Planning Board oversees the development of the Capital Improvement Plan, which supports the Board’s responsibilities to prepare and amend the City’s Master Plan.
What is the CIP?
The primary purpose of the CIP is to inform the development of the City’s annual budget. According to the City Charter, each year the CIP must be submitted to the City Council at least three-months prior to the submission of the City budget.
Why is the CIP important?
Along with the annual Budget, the CIP is a management tool that endeavors to balance competing infrastructure and capital investment needs with fiscal constraints. The purposes of the CIP are to:
- Implement needed improvements on a scheduled basis
- Provides a complete picture of the City's major development needs;
- Coordinates activities of various City departments and agencies;
- Assists in implementing recommendations of the City's Master Plan;
- Guide the allocation of fiscal resources
- Establishes fiscal priorities for projects;
- Balances the use of funding sources;
- Help plan for future City expenditures
- Discourages piecemeal improvements and duplication of expenditures;
- Ensure that needed facilities are provided within the City’s financial capability
- Informs the taxpayers of anticipated future improvements
- Helps to schedule major projects to reduce fluctuations in the tax rate
What is a Capital Improvement Project?
As used in the CIP, a capital improvement is a major fiscal expenditure, which is made infrequently or is non-recurring and that falls into one or more of the following categories:
- Land acquisition
- Construction or expansion of a new facility or utility lines
- Non-recurring rehabilitation of a facility provided the cost is $50,000 or more
- Design work or planning study related to a capital project or implementation of the Master Plan
- Any item or piece of equipment, non-vehicular in nature, that costs more than $50,000 and has a life expectancy of five or more years
- Replacement and purchase of vehicles which have a life expectancy of more than five years or cost more than $50,000
What is the CIP Schedule?
How are projects selected and prioritized?
CIP projects are based on capital needs identified through a variety ways, which are then vetted by City departments:
- Federal state mandates or regulations
- Facility and Infrastructure Assessments and Studies
- Planning priorities
- Related to implementation of the Master Plan or related studies
- Policy priorities
- Specific direction provided by City Council
- Citizen requests
All project requests are submitted via City Departments to the City Manager and are then reviewed and evaluated by a Planning Board Subcommittee. Each project request must include the following:
- Clear statement of need
- Justification for the project
- Net effect on the operating budget
- Implementation schedule
The City’s CIP needs have always exceeded the current availability of funding. Therefore, there is a need to prioritize CIP projects. The City has a prioritization process that establishes clear and concise guidelines for project selection. It also has an objective process for ranking projects. This allows decision-makers to make the best use of available funding resources.
Project justification criteria include:
- Identified in Planning document or study
- Addresses public health or safety need
- Alleviate substandard conditions or deficiencies
- Response to Federal or State requirement
- Improves quality of existing services
- Provides added capacity to existing services
- Reduces long-term operating costs
- Provides incentive to economic development
- Eligible for matching funds with limited availability
How are CIP projects implemented?
Once a project is identified in the CIP, it will next need to be approved for funding through the annual City budget process. Even after the annual budget is finalized, in many cases the City Council will need to authorize bonding or application for additional state or federal funding.
Once the funding sources for a project has been secured, most CIP projects go through a number of phases before final implementation. Regardless if it is a street resurfacing job, a pipeline replacement, or construction of a police station, all CIP projects go through various bidding, design, engineering, and construction phases before becoming a fully functioning asset.
Capital Improvement Plan projects are funded from a variety of sources:
- General Fund
- Federal/State Grants
- General Obligation Bonds
- Revenues (Parking, Water, Sewer)
- State Revolving Loan Fund
- Public Private Partnership
The method of financing for a project depends on a number of factors:
- Cost of the project
- Its useful life
- Eligibility of the project to receive funds from other than local taxes
- Long-term and short-term financial obligations of the City
- The project’s relative priority in terms of implementation