By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Greene County’s Planning Commission started the new year by reviewing the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). All departments within the county have provided feedback to Bart Svoboda, Zoning Administrator/Planning Director, who in turn presented the data to the Planning Commission.
The CIP is mandated of all localities as enumerated in Section 15.2-2239 of the Code of Virginia:
“Local planning commissions to prepare and submit annually capital improvement programs to governing body or official charged with preparation of budget. — A local planning commission may, and at the direction of the governing body shall, prepare and revise annually a capital improvement
program based on the comprehensive plan of the locality for a period not to exceed the ensuing five years. The commission shall submit the program annually to the governing body, or to the chief administrative officer or other official charged with preparation of the budget for the locality, at such time as it or he shall direct.
The capital improvement program shall include the commission’s recommendations, and estimates of cost of the facilities, including any road improvement and any transportation improvement the locality chooses to include
in its capital improvement plan and as provided for in the comprehensive plan, and the means of financing them, to be undertaken in the ensuing fiscal year and in a period not to exceed the next four years, as the basis of the capital budget for the locality. In the preparation of its capital budget recommendations, the commission shall consult with the chief administrative officer or other executive head of the government of the locality, the heads of departments and interested citizens and organizations and shall hold such public hearings as it deems
Svoboda mentioned that after last year’s CIP was prepared the Board of Supervisors recommended a committee be formed to work on the format of the CIP but to wait until the county administrator was hired. To date, this committee has not yet been formed. One key issue Svoboda mentioned is that most departments still put all requests at the highest priority, therefore, the document has little use in determining what should be done first. What needs to be done is to prioritize replacement old equipment, what has to be done to support growth, vs. what is just nice to have. The Free Enterprise Forum sees this practice as dysfunctional government. With a new County Administrator now well established, it should be mandated that departments prioritize their requests or have the administrator prioritize them.
Planning Commission Chairman Jay Willer primarily spoke for the PC since he is the only commissioner to have dealt with the CIP in prior years. Willer and Svoboda discussed what format and information would be most useful to the BOS. Commissioner Vic Schaff agreed that what is needed is a prioritization for what is necessary vs. what is wanted, what is routine maintenance vs. what is new. On the other hand, Svoboda stated that in order to get grants projects have to be listed on the CIP. So while some projects seem unrealistic, if a grant is found that would provide funds for the project, the project needs to be listed on the CIP in order to qualify for the grant.
This brought up the issue of how does the county know what funds are needed when some projects may have grants to pay for part of the project or some person or groups may make donations to help offset the cost of a project . Greene County has been very fortunate to receive gifts for many projects from the library/PVCC building to the county park.
Regardless of the format, the CIP is a required document of the state. The Planning Commission decided to defer the CIP until the February, 2014 meeting and will work on format and quality of content.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.