3 Reasons to Develop A Capital Improvements Plan
A Capital Improvements Plans (CIP) is a short-range (4-10 year) comprehensive prioritization of all capital projects, equipment purchases and major initiatives of a local government that takes into account priorities of the community, fiscal projections and projected lifespan of current infrastructure. CIPs allow planners, public works directors and fiscal officers to work together to ensure projects are identified and ranked in order of priority as well as plan for systematic completion of a local government’s stated goals.
While it may seem obvious that implementing a CIP allows you to be strategic with limited government resources, there are some lesser known reasons to develop a CIP that can be beneficial to local governments.
1): CIPs serve as important tools in interacting with members of the public.
In this day and age, the public is more interested and involved with their local governments than ever. People care about the improvement of downtowns, new housing developments, recreation opportunities and adequate roads, sewers and telecommunications. Developing a CIP through an open and transparent process involving public input can alleviate problems down the road by ensuring the public feels as though their voices have been heard.
Additionally, with a CIP in place it is easy for local governments to explain why they are prioritizing one project over another should members of the public ask. Showing that scheduled projects are intentional and based on sound reasoning that includes fiscal and logistical aspects will help constituents understand the reasoning behind your infrastructure decisions.
2): CIPs often give local governments a leg up in applying for grants.
As funding sources for local governments continue to dwindle, being competitive when it comes to grants is as important as ever. A CIP can show granting agencies that a local government is being intentional in its grant applications and that the project for which they are applying is indeed one of the top priorities for the community. CIPs also allow grantors the ability to see how the project fits into the locality’s long-term goals and examine how money has been spent on other projects in recent years by looking at already completed projects in the CIP. Finally, CIPs help you appear to granting agencies as better organized and prepared for sustainable management of capital projects, than those entities without one.
3): CIPs allow for better cooperation between departments and other government entities.
Having a written and public CIP allows internal agencies and departments to better understand the needs of the community as a whole; similar to a strategic plan for a business or organization. Managers can make more informed decisions on hiring, equipment purchases and overall planning when they can determine which projects have been prioritized in a CIP.
Similarly, a publicly available CIP can foster cooperation between local governments (e.g. a municipality and county government). When local governments share their priorities with one another there is often the ability to capitalize on synergies in timing which can result in cost sharing, joint purchasing and logistical support that can save money and time for both governments.
Interested in learning how a CIP can also assist engineering firms like WLC in serving you better? Contact us today.