What Are Capital Improvement Projects – Snyder & Associates municipal experts Lindsay Beaman, PE, Dave Sturm, PE, Nate Carhoff, PE, Andy Burke, PE, and Eric Cannon, PE have outlined detailed guidelines for Capital Improvement Program (CIP) planning, including strategies that It will help you prioritize. Goals, then specify funds to reach.

Start with preparations for the planning process. This includes budgeting and identifying financial resources. Then move on to prioritizing and defining the project scope. To help determine whether maintenance or replacement is appropriate for aging assets. It concludes with one of the most important elements. Recommendations for collecting community feedback and key stakeholders

What Are Capital Improvement Projects

Hello, and thank you for watching today’s podcast with Snyder & Associates. My name is Lindsey Beeman, and today we’re going to discuss CIP planning, which is capital improvement planning. with the municipal experts in our company We will ask them some questions. So we can talk in general about how Snyder & Associates can help you plan for capital improvements as we enter the season of budgeting and planning.

Pacific Grove, Ca

I want to start with Dave Sturm. Today, Dave, we’re starting budget planning season. What can you do to help your clients prepare for planning this time of year?

Thank you lindsay A lot of what we do to help clients plan for their projects is that we start looking at their needs for the next year. We look at what budget needs they have. Most of our customers are regular customers. So we already have a pretty good idea of ​​what they want to do in the next few years. Usually we just have sit-down meetings. look at their plans for the future And we try to match the project to their budget. Because here in southwestern Iowa We have many retail clients with relatively small budgets. We are just trying to help them meet their needs with whatever money they have.

We also look at what’s available at our local funding agencies, through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding, and efforts to help cities. By accepting grants and loans to help them complete those projects.

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Andy, maybe you can help me understand what projects they might want to do. And how do you pick and choose what matters first?

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I think the obvious variable is budget. As Dave mentioned earlier It’s the biggest variable in that decision-making process. If there are strict budget constraints Deciding to prioritize maintenance versus replacing or rebuilding is a key component of that. I think walking through that process with the client to find the best value or the best return for your money makes the best decision.

So in talking about funds, Nate, could you please consider that there is an unlimited amount of funds? What are some ways to help cities understand what they have to work with

I think a very important part of the planning process is understanding the budget and sources of money. in many of the communities we work with We try to incorporate that financial planning into project planning. We want to see property taxes, income, liabilities and service estimates. Many pass the county inspectors. It is publicly available information. We can use their tax base to estimate what their General Obligations (GO) will be. We can see what their existing GO bonds look like and their retirement schedule. Just to give them a better idea of ​​what debt they owe. When will that debt be paid off? And when can they take on more debt?

The caveat is that we are engineers. We know what we know about infrastructure work. We often advise our clients to hire a financial advisor or bond advisor to verify our work or confirm that our assumptions are in the ballpark. We take a step back and let the community or the city’s bond advisor take over from there.

Design And Construction

I think another thing here is local. which is in the Des Moines metro is the development that drives many of these priorities and needs. If you have a developer willing to come in and develop 80 or 100 acres of land, but they want a water extension. They need imported or improved roads. or something like that We will see how cities will change in any way Those priorities are based on community needs and development opportunities to expand that tax base. Therefore, priorities can be moving targets.

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I’m not very concerned with those priorities. We are not decision-makers. We are the ones who put the information in the table. Provide cost estimates, ideas, and more, and leave policy makers to set their priorities.

Thanks Eric, that’s where I’m going to continue with my question. As an expert in the engineering community We know how to use the available funds. or looking for available funds and prioritize the community How did that community begin to sit down and prioritize? I think if you ask many of our customers They will say that we have to do a lot of work. And there’s no way it’s enough to keep up Or perhaps there are simply too many goals for council members than is possible. so that the community can pay How can we help them break down? Sessions or other methods may be planned. in prioritizing those

We always start with department heads and what are their ultimate goals? What are our priorities? We’ll sit down with Public Works or Waste Water, the Roads Department, the Parks Department. We then bring in members from City Leaders. The Mayor, a few council members, administrators, and some community members chosen by City Leaders help set priorities. We started with massive amounts of things that everyone wanted. We then scale down to what the community can afford in the future on an annual or five-year basis.

Capital Improvement Planning Software

I think if the community doesn’t make a capital improvement plan for a while. There has to be a panic sticker. One of our communities hasn’t been following the plan for a while. And we ended up identifying a $15 million improvement after all was said and done. to all departments and all equipment replacements That was quite a shock to them. We then looked at and identified funding sources and what the community needed to do. After we go through all that process. The ending of it wasn’t that scary. That $15 million project Some of them are ideal and are postponed in the fifth or tenth year. And let’s focus on what can be done this year. What to do this year, next year and roll up our sleeves and get to work.

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I think the key element in that update. That’s the type of document in use or live document, and updating that CIP every year or whatever the customer chooses is also important. Because we all understand that funds and budgets are flexible and fluid from our clients, one year’s CIP may look slightly different than next year’s. Depending on some projects or priorities that may appear in any given year.

One of the communities we are involved with. it’s funny Go back 10 or 12 years ago when we first started working with them. They had a dry erase board in the basement where everyone had just written a project on it. That’s their wish list, and that’s their CIP. We began to collect booklets for them. We make an orderly list. We don’t need to prioritize it. But we just give them that list of projects. We provide cost estimates and concept plan graphics on the air. Which I think helps them understand each project.

They value what each person is. Then it goes into a planning session where you meet with the council members. And they’re having those work sessions to say, hey, I’m getting a lot of feedback from the community about all or all of the potholes we have. These crumbling old streets We have to look at the patching project here. And don’t let it get to the point where you have to replace it all because of the road.

Capital Improvements Project, 2022

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