Greene Discusses Capital Improvement Plan

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The chairman of the Greene County Planning Commission, Jay Willer, has been charged by the Board of Supervisors with updating and improving the county’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process . At the first Board of Supervisor’s meeting in March he provided an update and asked for direction from the Supervisors.

Bart Svoboda, Greene’s Planning Director  started the presentation stating that the current CIP process is cumbersome and it is a “wish list”. The goal of Willer’s refinement is to fine tune the process to sort true capital expenditures vs. maintenance items.

Willer then addressed the Board of Supervisors stating that the current CIP is not a “pretty” document and it is a “pile of paper that doesn’t make much sense” that up until now Supervisors would see the millions of dollars needed and say – “Oh my God” and move on. Over the years many citizens have indicated this is not a way to plan for the future.

Willer stepped the Supervisors through the CIP’s latest draft.

 

Annual Totals by Function: FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19 Total
Gross totals $10,535,805 $10,520,394 $11,855,523 $58,264,973 $67,631,638 $158,808,333
Federal / State Required $68,836 $5,000 $0 $0 $0 $73,836
Maintenance of Existing Capital Assets $583,000 $312,400 $277,400 $447,400 $25,000 $1,645,200
Replacement of Existing Capital Assets $6,272,753 $4,240,000 $4,615,000 $2,420,000 $0 $17,547,753
Upgrade of Existing Capital Assets $136,000 $380,000 $1,420,000 $9,515,000 $12,000,000 $23,451,000
Improvement of Existing Capital Assets $207,453 $261,815 $328,123 $539,773 $16,101,323 $17,438,487
New Capital Projects $3,267,763 $5,321,179 $5,215,000 $45,342,800 $39,505,315 $98,652,057

The first grouping of the projects is sorted by function, six in all. The first grouping is projects that either the federal or state government requires. The rest of the categories go from maintenance projects progressively to new capital projects. Maintenance vs. replacement projects go together in that maintaining an asset may preclude or delay the replacement of an asset, such as, fix the leaky roof or replace it later if it is not maintained. Upgrading, improving and new equipment are categories that are either volume driven or a new approach to solving a problem.

The second chart identifies how the projects above can be funded. The majority of funds come out of the General Fund. The other four categories are a variety of different sources of funds from outside the county.

Annual Totals by Source of Funds:  FY15  FY16  FY17 FY18  FY19  TOTAL
Gross totals $10,535,805 $10,520,394 $11,855,523 $58,264,973 $67,631,638 $158,808,333
General Fund $10,328,352 $8,237,181 $11,497,400 $49,627,400 $12,275,000 $91,965,333
Proffers / Grants $0 $21,398 $30,000 $8,097,800 $255,315 $8,404,513
Rustic Rural $0 $0 $0 $0 $960,000 $960,000
VRA $0 $2,000,000 $0 $0 $39,000,000 $41,000,000
6 Year Plan $207,453 $261,815 $328,123 $539,773 $15,141,323 $16,478,487

The rest of the draft showed the detail of all projects sorted by departments within the county.  Willer used the analogy that his former boss used which was “kill the closest snakes” – meaning what needs to be done first. He also wanted the Board to be clear that the document they had in front of them was not a CIP, some of the projects are 1 to 2 years old and some have been completed. The question is – is the format ok?

In addition to the CIP format that has been drafted, forms have been developed to input each project with significantly more data being required instead of just what and when. Also, determining who will decide what to cull out of the submissions needs to be determined.

Willer hoped that part of the benefit of the new CIP formatting would be helping the county group like expenditures – such as packs for all the fire departments – in order to combine the purchase and leverage the buying power of the county and driving the cost per unit down and thereby saving the county money. However, the timing is too late for this CIP format to be used in the 2016/2017 budget cycle.

Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) thanked Willer for the work to date and liked the format of the draft and believes it will be easier for department heads to understand the process. Willer encouraged the Board to provide “small victories” in approving some projects so that departments will have some credibility in the process.

Vice-Chairman, Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) hoped that the forms could be distributed and submitted electronically. Willer answered that the draft is a hardcopy but can be converted in the future.

Supervisor Dale Herring (At-Large) asked what the time frame is for this process? Willer replied that the Board sets the time frame but assumes that it would be needed early in the budget process so that the impact of any expense items can be realized as well as the capital required by the county’s departments. In addition, projects in some cases need to be identified in a county’s CIP in order to qualify for grants. The real question is – when will County Administrator John Barkley want the data in order to feed the budget process.

barkley

Greene County Administrator, John Barkley

Supervisor Chairman Bill Martin (Standardsville) asked Barkley if he had any comments and he stated it is incumbent of staff to lead this process and the goal is to get this ready by the end of the summer to use in the next budget cycle. Being able to see the data sorted as presented is very helpful even though it won’t help with the new budget but it is a step in the right direction.

Willer suggested that the Supervisors keep the CIP in mind as they go through the budget process as they may find needs that can be incorporated in next year’s budget process. Martin asked Willer if he would prepare a one page guide of key questions/actions and dates, including who is to maintain and decide the process, the transmission of the data to the Administrator and finally to the Board.  Willer agreed to prepare this document.

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.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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