How High-Growth Communities Can Streamline Capital Improvement Planning
Managing infrastructure and keeping up with growth are major issues that high-growth communities face daily. The increase in citizens leads to a strain on existing infrastructure. The upside is that more residents mean more money to fund projects like road expansions and high-speed internet. So the question is… How do you spend it?
This is why agencies have moved towards developing multi-year Capital Improvement Plans that exist separately from their Operational Budget.
A capital improvement plan is a short-range plan, usually 1-10 years, that outlines capital projects and equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule, and identifies options for financing the plan. Often, the planning involves strategic priority ranking, back and forth with department heads, and eventually incorporation into the annual budget.
High-growth local governments need a way to streamline creating and communicating their multi-year CIP and capital budget.
The Challenge With More Capital Funds
Growth is inevitable. And most local governments would argue that growth is a good thing. It generates more revenue, creates jobs, raises property values, and gives residents more diverse offerings for everything from schools to shopping.
But managing infrastructure to keep up with high growth – rapid growth over short periods – can be challenging.
Public sector employees are faced with a more demanding workload. Engineers and planning officials must determine the infrastructure needed to support growth, and finance teams must manage and allocate the extra funds toward the agency’s long-term CIP and the current annual capital budget.
This can put a strain on an already demanding and time-constrained budget process. Most local governments have a rigorous process for scoring, analyzing, and prioritizing capital requests from department heads. But finance employees are still tied to the same timelines and due dates — just with more work to manage.
Why High-Growth Communities May Struggle With Creating & Communicating Their CIP
Even with an influx of funds and citizens demanding bigger roads, government officials must still be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Transparency in high-growth communities is arguably even more important with the rapid development and a constant influx of new citizens and businesses to answer to.
Having a process to communicate how capital projects are prioritized, along with a detailed breakdown of how the project will be funded and when it will be completed goes a long way toward establishing that transparency.
But the reality is that it’s a struggle to keep up. Why?
The Solution Is Clear
There are two components to the capital process:
The CIP is the multi-year roadmap that shows where we’re going and how we will get there. The capital budget shows the final approved allocated funds for specific projects in the current fiscal year.
Many local governments build these components separately — and manually.
ClearGov’s cloud-based capital budgeting solutions streamline and automate the capital process using these two tools:
ClearGov Capital Budgeting allows governments to easily build their capital improvement plans and the annual capital budget in one easy-to-use, collaborative, cloud-based platform.
ClearGov Digital Budget Book automatically creates a dynamic and engaging web-based budget book where public sector agencies can publish their CIP so that it’s visible to council and residents — all in one place.
Here’s an example of how Beaufort County, South Carolina incorporates their CIP into their Digital Budget Book.
Leveraging these two ClearGov solutions together enables:
Hear How ClearGov’s Capital Solutions Helped One High-Growth City
Jene Jess, Finance and Employee Services Director, City of Bondurant, Iowa shared her experience using ClearGov’s Capital Budgeting and Digital Budget Book products:
“We’re a small department. When I first came on five years ago, it was just me, and I do both the finance and the HR. Now I have a budget analyst that is involved. But five years later, I think we are the second fastest-growing community in Iowa. And so I potentially could have added another staff member with the amount of work that’s grown just in projects and capital planning and all of that. With [ClearGov Capital Budgeting], I really didn’t have to.
I love the projects page in the Capital Budgeting module. That has made a huge, huge leap forward for us because you get people in your community that say, ‘I don’t want XYZ. Explain to me why I have to pay for this. Why is it taking so long?’ Whatever the question may be. This page takes all of that away and it’s a really beautiful display of, ‘This is where your tax dollars are going; this is how we plan to spend it.’”
Ready To Streamline Your Capital Budget & CIP?
Your capital process is so much simpler with ClearGov!
Capital Budgeting makes it easier and more efficient to receive and submit requests, score and rank requests, and build capital budgets.
Digital Budget Book is used to produce the final presentation of the capital improvement plan within your annual budget – you no longer need to make separate documents!
Watch a quick demo of Capital Budgeting and Digital Budget Book to see if these tools can help your high-growth community soar to new heights.