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What is the Capital Improvement Plan 03.07.16

One of the most important, but often overlooked, elements contained in local government budgets is the Capital Improvements Plan, or CIP. A Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a multi-year planning instrument used to identify needs and financing sources for public infrastructure maintenance and improvements. Public infrastructure reflects capital improvements required to provide the level of service adopted in our Comprehensive Plan. They include roads and bridges, parks, beach access, buildings, fire engines and police cars, anything that has a life span of three years or more and costs in excess of $60,000. The level of service is a measurement adopted to try to assure a quality of life standard, i.e., library books per person, acceptable traffic congestion, fire and emergency response times, acreage of parks required per person, a wide variety of things desired by our citizens.

The County Administration has posted a guide to the CIP as approved by our County Commission. It says, "Martin County provides necessary and desired public services to the community and the purpose of the CIP is to facilitate the orderly planning of maintaining, preserving, and protecting the infrastructure system that is utilized for those public services.” The CIP is a proposed schedule for the expenditure of funds to maintain, acquire, or construct these necessary improvements over the next ten-year period. This plan provides the public, residents, and stakeholders transparent information on how the County plans to address significant capital needs over the next ten fiscal years.

The CIP offers a comprehensive outlook of countywide needs by:

• Maximizing the uses of revenue to reduce the burden of the taxpayers

• Encouraging efficient government by interdepartmental coordination

• Maintaining a fiscally sound and consistent financial program

• Guiding anticipated growth and development needs

• Enhancing opportunities for federal or state grant awards

The CIP represents a comprehensive and direct statement of the physical development policies of Martin County. The County has a comprehensive process for capital improvement planning and budgeting and this process is guided by the Capital Projects Policy.

The CIP is the link between planning and funding the construction of our anticipated needs. It is guided by Section 14.4 of our adopted Comprehensive Plan. It plans for public facilities based on projected population. It is a ten year Plan, meaning that it looks forward ten years, the first year of the plan is the foundation of the plan that is what gets built next year. The first five years of the plan have to be fully funded and can be relied on by our citizens. The CIP is built using a weighted process with emphasis on eliminating public hazards, replacement of obsolete structures/equipment, maintaining the adopted “Level Of Service” and reducing operational costs.

The process is supposed to be a technical decision but, as with many things, it can become political. This is where you as a taxpayer and MCTA as a taxpayers organization can get engaged. Martin County will soon release it draft CIP for 2017, and will hold hearings in April to determine priorities. Knowing that funds are limited, our goal is to insure the priorities are met and critical capital improvements are completed.