The CIP Process

A Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) contains all the individual capital projects, equipment purchases, and major studies for a local government. The plan provides a working blueprint for sustaining and improving the community’s infrastructures.1 

There are two parts to a CIP: a budget and a plan. Both are prepared with input and recommendations from the public, the City's Engineering Firm, and various departments, which may include Public Works, Planning and Development, Finance and, often, the Fire and Police Departments.  

There are three ways that the projects in a capital budget can be approved:

  • Adopt an annual capital budget: This method funds projects only a year at a time with the funds needed for the project for that year.
  • Adopt the capital budget with the entire amount for every project approved in that fiscal year, regardless of whether it will be spent that year: In addition, carryover funds for capital projects from one year are usually put into the next year’s budget and approved again by the elected officials.
  • Approve a bond financing and authorizing the project(s).2 

Once the budget is approved, City Staff works with the engineers and appropriate contractors to ensure that the projects are completed in a timely manner. 

The CIP budget and an overview of the CIP plan is included in the City's annual budget. The City Engineer provides regular updates to Council and staff throughout the year. 

1. Francis, Charlie (2016, May10) Capital Improvement Plans 101. Retrieved from

2. ibid.