Long Range Planning

Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

Proposed Program

Current Program

Previous Programs

FAQs

What is a CIP?

A capital improvement program (CIP) is a blueprint for planning a community's public capital spending and is one of the most important responsibilities of municipal government. The CIP deals with the physical improvement or replacement of City-owned infrastructure and facilities. Capital improvements are projects with a useful life of fifteen or more years that maintain, upgrade or replace public infrastructure and public service providing facilities. The CIP provides a multi-year list of proposed major capital expenditures for the City. This program attempts to set funding strategies not only for the current year, but also to project future needs for major construction projects and land acquisition. The City constantly looks ahead on how we will improve major items such as roads, utilities, police, fire, parks and other community buildings for the people of Lincoln. Capital expenditures are viewed not only in the context of how much the new project will cost, but also what impact the project will have on the City's operating budget.

The CIP is not intended to be an all-inclusive inventory of the City of Lincoln's capital needs for the upcoming six years. It is a document that outlines planned capital improvements, given available financial resources.

A CIP has the following benefits:

  • Facilitates coordination between capital needs and the operating budgets.
  • Enhances the community's credit rating, control of its tax rate, and avoids sudden changes in its debt service requirements.
  • Identifies the most economical means of financing capital projects.
  • Increases opportunity for obtaining federal and state aid.
  • Relates public facilities to other public and private development and redevelopment policies and plans.
  • Focuses attention on community objectives and fiscal capacity.
  • Keeps the public informed about future needs and projects.
  • Coordinates the activities of neighborhood and overlapping units of local government to reduce duplication.
  • Encourages careful project planning and design to avoid costly mistakes and help a community reach desired goals.
How is the CIP Prepared?

The Lincoln City Charter assigns responsibility for assembling the City's annual six-year CIP to the City Planning Department. This process involves coordinating the assessment of the City's capital needs across more than a dozen different departments and agencies. Each City department projects capital needs and creates an improvement program for a six-year period. The individual capital project requests are submitted to the Planning Department and assembled into a single document. Each project is evaluated for conformity with the City-County Comprehensive Plan along with the most recent funding projections and revenue calculations.

Currently, the City Council does not adopt the six-year CIP. The capital projects appearing in the first-year of the six-year CIP are placed into a separate document that becomes known as the Capital Budget. It is the Capital Budget that is adopted each year by the City Council.

Lincoln's six-year CIP is updated annually beginning in winter, when City departments prepare their proposed capital improvement program. The CIP is reviewed for conformity with the City-County Comprehensive Plan by the Planning Commission. The Mayor forwards the CIP, along with the Planning Commission's recommendation and public testimony to the Lincoln City Council. The entire process takes place over a period of nearly nine months and culminates in the City Council's adoption of a one-year Capital Budget in August of each year.

How does the City pay for CIP projects?

The six-year CIP is updated every year to reflect the most current program information and funding projections. The City uses an array of funding sources to pay for capital projects. The CIP lays out multi-year funding needs, and identifies related capital projects. The CIP allows other public entities, such as Lancaster County and the Lower Platte South NRD to make improvement plans with more predictability, as well as aiding in infrastructure coordination. Capital improvements may have one or multiple sources of funding, which involve funding from the private sector, city, state or federal sources. City funds are primarily from property and sales taxes.

What is the Timeline?

The Planning Commission Review draft of the City's six-year Capital Improvement Program is released in early May of each calendar year. Following the Commission's public hearing on the draft, the document is then issued by the Mayor to the Lincoln City Council. The Lincoln City Council holds a public hearing in August on the City's capital and operating budgets. Final approval of both budgets is usually near the end of August.