DEVELOPMENT OF THE CIP PRIORITIZATION PROCESS
Like many older cities, Oakland has aging infrastructure and a significant backlog of deferred maintenance. Key facilities such as police and fire stations, recreation facilities, libraries and parks need to be rehabilitated or replaced. With each biannual budget cycle, more projects are requested than the City has resources available to implement.
In 2016, the passage of Measure KK— a $600 million infrastructure bond funding transportation, infrastructure and affordable housing— elevated public engagement and advocacy around capital investment in the City. In the past, only a small set of factors were considered when determining which projects moved forward and received funding. The City Council, City Administrator and Department Directors considered several determinants, such as legal and regulatory requirements and asset conditions, along with limited funding availability to determine which CIP projects would be included in a budget cycle. Moreover, the CIP process only allowed for public input during limiting City Council meetings and hearings.
During the FY 17-19 CIP budget process, the need for a more accessible and comprehensive approach to public input that also incorporated the mandates of the Measure KK Infrastructure Bond and racial equity became apparent. The updated CIP Development Process provided a means to receive public requests for capital projects ideas directly from communities. This update was facilitated by the formation of the Capital Improvement Program Working Group (CIPWG) comprised of Oakland Public Works (OPW), Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) and Department of Race & Equity (DRE) staff. The goals of this group were as follows:
✦ Improve the quality and consistency of Departmental and Public input on capital projects;
✦ Improve the transparency of the CIP prioritization/decision-making process;
✦ Ensure that the process is data-driven by identifying, applying and adhering to clear, well- defined and consistent factors;
✦ Streamline the process to improve efficiency and expenditure of staff time and resources;
✦ Filter physical and programmatic needs through the lens of community values and City goals
The CIPWG reviewed available existing City documents including the Mayor and Council priority documents, General Plans and Specific Plans, Other Council adopted plans, Departmental Strategic Plans and Measure KK Guiding Principles, along with public input to formulate nine Citywide Capital Prioritization Factors. Additionally, staff researched existing CIP processes from various cities and organizations to review best practices, challenges, lessons learned, and tools/software used to manage capital improvement programs.
As detailed under the Past Outreach and CIP Development section, staff built off a prioritization framework based on values shared by community members and review of best practices around the country to propose the use of nine factors for capital prioritization: 1) Equity, 2) Health and Safety, 3) Economy, 4) Environment, 5) Improvement, 6) Existing Conditions, 7) Shovel Ready, 8) Collaboration and 9) Required Work.
The CIPWG initially categorized the City’s assets into eight asset categories: Streets and Sidewalks, Mobility and Fixed Transportation Assets, Signals and Streetlighting, Building and Facilities, Parks and Open Space, Sanitary Sewer System, Storm Drainage and Watershed, and Technology. Today, Streets and Sidewalks, Mobility and Fixed Transportation Assets, Signals and Streetlighting were grouped into one Transportation Asset category.
CITYWIDE PRIORITIZATION FACTORS AND WEIGHING SYSTEMS
CIP projects - both internal to City departments and those requested by the public - are scored according to the nine factors listed below. Equity is infused throughout.
DEPARTMENT OF RACE & EQUITY GUIDANCE
Throughout 2017-2018, the Department of Race and Equity (DRE), a City department formed in 2015 to evaluate the equity implications of city programs, provided technical assistance on various elements of the prioritization process. DRE’s involvement ensured the updated CIP incorporated equity in a manner that was meaningful and in alignment with City objectives, as well as including subsequent performance measures to assess equitable outcomes. The DRE was consulted at significant milestones throughout the CIP Development Process and participated on the Capital Improvement Program Advisory Committee (CIPAC) and the CIPAC subcommittees. Consultations with DRE aligned the CIPWG mission and resulting Equitable CIP Prioritization Process to support racial equity goals of:
- Eliminating systemic causes of racial disparities in City Government by supporting staff to use analytical tools to identify systemic racism and create solutions to address it.
- Promoting inclusion and full participation for all residents of the City through inclusive engagement strategies that give voice to communities which are under- served as a result of Structural Racism.
- Reducing race-based disparities in our communities by using data to make racial disparities visible and community input to inform and shape the prioritization factors and project recommendations for funding.
Over time, the goal of these measures is to improve conditions in areas of Oakland impacted by racial disparities.
During the development of the proposed FY 23-25 CIP, DRE continued its active participation through the community engagement phase. The inclusive community engagement strategy centered on continuing to close the remaining gaps in community representation and the geographic distribution of project requests across the City. Further information on how these neighborhoods were selected is available later in this report.
The CIP prioritization model, driven by both qualitative and quantitative data, has been recognized nationally. At the federal level, DRE was invited to present the CIP prioritization model and its results at the White House Equitable Data roundtable on March 24, 2023. Federal agencies across the administration were represented. At this event, DRE shared how the process has helped Oakland advance racial equity through capital infrastructure investments. There were over 500 people in attendance.
PAST OUTREACH AND CIP DEVELOPMENT
In 2018, as part of the City’s commitment to inclusive community engagement, the CIPWG dedicated a Community Outreach Coordinator to work closely with and support fostering relationship building as well as encouraging public involvement. During the FY 19-21 budget cycle, the CIPWG implemented public outreach in two phases. In Phase 1, through a series of community meetings, and online and paper surveys, the City gathered community input on how to develop a CIP process, rooted in shared City and community values and priorities. The information collected in Phase 1 was used to develop a weighting system for the nine prioritization factors, which based on a scoring scale from zero to one hundred, resulted in also uplifting the voices of Black and Latinx participants. This step was intentional and necessary given that the data collected through outreach events revealed that Black and Latinx participation was not representative of Oakland demographics. This was addressed by statistically weighting the responses on the evaluation factors of these ethnic groups. A key outcome of this step was equity racing to the top as one of the most valued factors for Oaklanders, followed by health and safety. Phase 2 utilized the adopted factors and weighting system to develop the CIP Budget, while continuing community engagement to initiate a first-of-its-kind path forward for the public to request their own capital project ideas. Public intake forms were distributed and received through the City’s website, email, standard mail, and in community meetings. The public form included five simplified questions about CIP Project requests, and was translated into Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish. In subsequent engagement cycles, Arabic, Khmer, Korean, and Tagalog were added to the public intake form.
This FY 23-25 budget cycle represents the third cycle of implementing the CIP Prioritization Factors Weighting System, providing a framework for a robust project ranking process that is heavily weighted toward equity and results in recommendations for funding allocations. The equity factor accounts for 16 points out of 100, one of the highest along with the health and safety factor. Not only is equity considered as a standalone factor, it is also a subfactor under six out of the nine factors, as revised in the previous CIP cycle. Equity is currently a subfactor under the collaboration, existing conditions, environment, health and safety, and improvement and economy factors.
With every CIP cycle, the community outreach and engagement process has evolved. During the prior two CIP cycles, the City has collaborated with community-based organizations (CBOs) that have helped facilitate the development of CIP proposals with community members and have informed the City of community member priorities. The engagement process for the current cycle is described in more detail below, in the FY 23-25 Cycle Community Engagement section.
COLLABORATION WITH CITY DEPARTMENTS
Many City Departments are ‘asset owners’ of buildings, parks and other facilities covered by the CIP, and are integral partners in the CIP prioritization process. Department representatives submit project requests to the CIPWG that reflect their priorities and goals for capital improvements, which are then scored together with public project requests for prioritization using the same equity-based scoring system.
The Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP) establishes the City’s comprehensive policies to address climate change, including Action Item A-1: Fund Creation and Operation of Resilience Hubs. Resilience Hubs are facilities designated to serve broad community needs related to the shocks and stresses resulting from a changing climate. These needs include physical and operational design features like solar energy systems, energy storage, advanced HVAC, green infrastructure, and charging systems for medical equipment and emergency response supplies. Resilience Hubs will become a core part of the City’s emergency response capabilities, as well as serving needs during smoke days, extreme heat events, power outages, and natural disasters. The CIP includes costs associated with the creation of Resilience Hubs at municipal buildings across Oakland.