Overview of the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program
A Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a community planning and fiscal management tool used to coordinate the location, timing, and financing of capital improvements over a five-year period. Capital improvements refer to major, non-recurring physical expenditures such as land, buildings, public infrastructure, and equipment, all with a cost of $100,000 or more. The CIP is necessary to improve public facilities and infrastructure assets for the economic, aesthetic, and functional viability to our City. The plan identifies our City’s specific capital needs based on various long-range plans, goals, and policies. It also provides analysis for decision making for City officials and strategic capital planning efforts with City departments.
The City of Tucson’s practice is to develop, maintain, and revise when necessary a continuing Capital Improvement Program that covers a five-year planning horizon. This budget document covers Fiscal Years 2021/22 through 2025/26 and identifies capital projects during this timeframe to include the funding sources available for projected expenditures.
The objective of this overview is to give the reader a brief look into the CIP program process.
Capital Improvement Program Process
Defining a Capital Improvement
To be included in the CIP, projects need to meet one of the following criteria:
- Construction of a new City asset or expansion of an existing City-owned facility, including preliminary planning and surveys, cost of land, staff and contractual services for design and construction, and related furnishings and equipment.
- Initial acquisition of a major equipment system which will become a City asset, with a cost of $100,000 or more and a useful life of at least six years.
- Major renovation or rehabilitation of an existing City-owned facility that requires an expenditure of $100,000 or more and will extend the life of the original City asset.
Exceptions have been made for inclusion of a few projects that do not meet the above criteria (Sun Tran buses, Sun Van paratransit vans, street improvements, and Tucson Delivers, Parks and Connections) to make the planning, funding, and acquisition of these purchases more visible to the public and the governing body.
Steps from Submittal to Approval
In December 2020, the CIP process began with the Budget and Financial Planning Division of the Business Services Department, providing direction and guidelines to department liaisons. Departments were given approximately seven weeks to develop their CIP requests based on their assessment of needs, existing bond authorizations, and grant awards. Departments were directed to include only projects with secured funding. Exceptions were made for annual federal grant appropriations from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), other pending awards that would require budget capacity (e.g. any non-federal grants or contributions), and future enterprise revenue bonds. Department requests were reviewed by the Budget and Financial Planning Division and applicable revisions were made..
The proposed CIP was presented to the Mayor and Council May 4, 2021, along with the Recommended Fiscal Year 2021/22 Budget. The first year of the CIP was included as part of the City’s Recommended Budget. The Mayor and Council reviewed and discussed both the operating and capital budgets at Study Sessions in May. Four public hearings were held prior to the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021/22 Budget on June 22, 2021.