CAPITAL PROJECT PROCESS
Generally, the evolution of a capital improvement project follows, in sequence, the stages of conceptualization, design, funding, and construction.
The annual memorialization of this process is the City’s 5-year capital plan. The overall plan is revisited in the late summer and fall of each year as we review citywide priorities, assess progress to date, and re-establish priorities for the coming years. Our objective is to come to agreement, in a process involving considerable public review and discussion, on the capital plan priorities; and adopt by council resolution the agreed upon capital plan by the end of each year. In this manner, we can factor our anticipated debt service needs into the following year’s operating budget.
The initiation or birth of a capital project arises from the needs and/or desires of a combination of the Mayor, Council, City staff, and general public. Every capital project is ultimately owned by all of us. The question of priority has come up from time to time. Why is a certain project deemed to be a priority over another? The simple answer is that those projects being advanced have been deemed by the council and administration to be of most benefit to the City and its operation as a whole, considering all factors. While the rationale behind every project is described publicly in some fashion, there is extensive and detailed review and analysis that takes place by city staff apart from the public process. This review and analysis is conducted by city staff in conjunction with various committees of elected officials, members of the public, contracted planning and design professionals, and various government agencies at the local, county, state, and federal level. Ultimately, no project that is paid for with capital improvement funds can be performed without agreement of both City Council and the Mayor.
While only the Mayor is able to execute construction contracts, the checks and balances of our government provide City Council with considerable ability to advance, or halt, a project. Below is the typical sequence of events and actions that take place during the evolution of most projects.
TYPICAL PROJECT SEQUENCE
- Project Conceptualization
- Internal Review of Project
- Project Inclusion in Capital Plan
- Internal Review of Capital Plan
- Public Review of Capital Plan
- Agreement on Capital Plan (in public session)
- Funding Ordinance by Council (in public session) as Required by Law
- Authorization of Professional Service Planning and/or Design Contracts
(vast majority by Council in public session in accordance with law)
- Approval of Specifications and Authorization to go to Bid by Council (as per established policy)
- Authorization of Award of Construction Contracts (vast majority in public session by Council as required by law)
- Execution of Construction Contracts by Mayor
- Construction by Administration
- Every project is monitored by City staff, in order to ensure adherence to schedules and budgets.