Residents Encouraged to Get Involved in CIP Process
The 2019-2023 CIP process began development last month, and at the most recent Common Council meeting, four alderpersons were selected to serve on the City’s Capital Improvement Program Administrative Committee. Citizen Andy Keogh’s name was also presented for appointment to the CIP Committee on 1/23, and his appointment will be voted on at the February 13 Council meeting.
Along with the annual budget, the CIP is the City’s most important financial document. Serving as a long-range financial planning tool, the CIP is a five-year plan for the development of facilities, infrastructure, and other capital projects. An important financial planning resource for City officials and staff, the CIP helps achieve a more proactive approach to financial planning.
“The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a comprehensive blueprint of the City’s intended capital projects over the upcoming 5-year period, along with how we plan to pay for these improvements,” explained Steve Barg, City Administrator. “It covers a wide variety of projects, although there’s often heavy emphasis on major street work, recreation upgrades (park/trails/zoo/etc.), and larger maintenance projects for city buildings and facilities. Once adopted, the CIP helps guiding our future spending and borrowing plans, and it’s used in preparing future budgets.”
Examples of projects from recent CIPs include: reconstruction of Chestnut and Maple Avenues in the downtown area; upgrade of traffic signals at 4th Street and Peach Avenue, replacement of the roof on City Hall Plaza; construction of the Wildwood-McMillan trail project; repairs/upgrades to fairgrounds buildings; and lighting/runway improvements at the airport.
Using a matrix formula, City Staff rank projects by priority level: Level 1 (Highest), Level 2 (Medium), or Level 3 (Lowest) priority.
Level 1 (Highest) projects are those that are:
- Mandated by Federal, State, or local regulations
- High priority of the Council, based upon the comprehensive plan or other planning documents
- Prevents irreparable damage to existing facilities
- Leverages local funding with other non-local funding sources
- Finishes a partially completed project
Level 2 (Medium) projects:
- Maintains existing service levels
- Results in increased efficiency
- Reduces operational costs
- Reduces revenue losses, or significantly increases revenues
Level 1 (Low):
- Provides an expanded level of service or new public facility
- May be deferred without significant impact
Four criteria that are evaluated to help separate projects that are “necessary” from others that are “desirable.” They are:
- Health/Safety – Protects health/safety of residents, visitors, and employees
- Maintenance/Replacement – Maintains existing systems and equipment
- Expansion of Existing Programs – Enhances or expands existing systems/programs
- New Program – Creates new program or services
Funding for capital projects comes from a variety of sources, including the following:
- Operating funds from current year tax levies, primarily budgeted in the City’s general fund
- Special assessments levied against benefiting property owners, when deemed appropriate
- Borrowed funds secured from the use of long-term debt instruments, such as notes and bonds
- Room tax funds from a portion of the revenues generated by the City’s 8% hotel/motel taxes
- Wastewater utility funds generated through customer fees and borrowing specific to this utility
- Non-local revenue received from other agencies, primarily the state or federal government
- Cemetery perpetual care funds from contributions made for future maintenance of grave sites
- Donations from the various civic and cultural groups, including the Wildwood Park Zoo Society
- TIF revenues from the incremental tax values generated on properties within active TIF districts
As always, City officials welcome and encourage input and ideas from citizens.
“As with the annual budget, City officials welcome and very much desire your comments and input,” said Barg. “Decisions made during the CIP process should reflect our best effort to identify the most important public improvements and the appropriate ways (operating funds, borrowing, room taxes, grant opportunities, etc.) to pay for these projects. Please let us know your thoughts and concerns on how we tax, borrow, and spend.”
If you have ideas, or if you would just like to know more about the CIP and how you can provide your thoughts, please call Steve Barg at 486-2003, or email him at [email protected]