5 Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP)
What is the 5 Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP)?
The 5 Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) involves identification, management, and implementation of CIP projects. The process includes input from City staff, citizens, and City Council. Recognition of the community needs and balancing the infrastructure demands with the funding available is the goal of the CIP. We encourage our citizens to contact us with any suggestions, comments, concerns, or questions concerning the City’s future CIP projects or any current CIP projects.
In 2007, the City contracted with Freese and Nichols to assist with developing a sustainable CIP process for the City. The process included the development of a project database from master plans and department needs to reduce the dependency of staff members’ individual and collective knowledge of projects. The evaluation process included input from City Council’s strategic planning, the current citizen survey, a sub-committee of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), and benchmarking site visits to Overland Park, Kansas and Rowlett, Texas, both of which have successful implementation and management practices in their CIP.
The benchmarking visits allowed the City to further recognize, brainstorm, and improve from other municipalities. The benchmarking cities’ experiences with evaluation criteria, growth, costs, prioritizations, citizen communications, and documentation provided invaluable input to the City of Bryan CIP process.
The initial process was an annual one that evaluated the CIP database each year, then projected a 5 year plan. In 2011, with declining budgets, the process was modified slightly to a 2 year evaluation cycle while still projecting a 5 year plan. Under this new 2 year cycle, fiscal years beginning with an “odd” number will be dedicated to the production and presentation of a 5 year CIP plan to Council for approval, while “even” fiscal years will see the issuance of the necessary bonds needed to complete the Council approved projects. The City will also use the “even” fiscal years to improve the cost estimates in the CIP database and evaluate the system for improvements to recommend to Council. This process more closely follows the typical schedule of a project whereby design is usually completed in the first year and construction is typically completed the following year. The CIP process is only a tool to assist the City with implementing capital improvements. The process allows for incorporating changes in projects, community needs, and funding to continually improve this dynamic tool.
The CIP database allows a multitude of project information to be easily accessible and managed by the City. The database documents project information, justifications, cost estimates, and funding sources to facilitate the management of the capital improvements programs without the regrouping effort that is characteristic of many programs. In addition, the evaluation criteria weighted factors are calculated in the database and allow the City to prioritize projects based on criteria weights. This tool assists with changing the weights for future programs to continually reflect the emphasis of the City Council and the community. The CIP database is a key component in maintaining a viable list of projects that, in the past, may have been inadvertently forgotten; there will always be more projects than available funds.
Another tool within the database is the 1-Page Report developed and generated to provide a snapshot of the pertinent information regarding each CIP project. Each report contains a map showing project limits as well as a vicinity map indicating the corresponding Council District. These 1-Page Reports are available on the City’s website to better illustrate the location of a particular CIP project.
The evaluation process provides an objective way for the City to compare cross-departmental projects that compete for the same funding. The subjectivity of comparing projects is reduced and more reliance is placed on the weighted criteria created by the stakeholders. The project evaluation starts with the City reviewing evaluation criteria derived from various sources such as community responses, City staff knowledge of citizen concerns, and City Council areas of emphasis.
CIP projects, including streets, storm water, public safety, parks, sidewalks, facilities, and special projects, were ranked by the CIP lead team based on the selected criteria. Projects wholly funded using Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste and Electric Enterprise Funds were not ranked with this formula as projects from those funds are ranked on more technical criteria and funded from those respective revenue sources. In order to maintain consistency in how the projects were evaluated, the Ranking System Summary was developed to assist with the scoring and interpretation of the criteria.
The Capital Improvements Program based on the process developed and implemented as described above, represent balanced community and infrastructure needs of the City of Bryan.
The CIP process is a tool to assist with determining CIP projects for the upcoming years; however, it is only a tool to help manage the needs of a growing community. It is consistent with other cities successful CIP implementation that this tool be used in conjunction with oversight and support from the City Council. The project database, evaluation criteria, prioritizations, and project communication will continue to evolve with the growth of the community. A successful CIP includes a dynamic process that helps manage and implement growth in a changing environment with the community’s needs at the forefront.