Capital Improvement Planning


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​​​ Fourth floor, 301 E. Huron Street, P.O. Box 8647, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Kayla Coleman,
Capital Projects Asset Manager

734.794.6430 x43728

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Quick links

What is a Capital Improvements Plan (CIP)? ​​

  • A six-year schedule of public service expenditures; updated annually

  • A planning tool for large, physical improvements

  • Focused on basic needs for the community to function

  • Includes municipal facilities, transportation infrastructure, utility systems, and more

  • Required by the State of Michigan – Act 33 of the Public Acts of 2008

High priority capital projects are identified throu​gh the CIP. After City Planning Commission adoption of the CIP, projects move forward for City Council consideration as part of the p​ropose​d Capital Budget. If project funding is approved by City Council through the Annual Budget approval, then implementation planning begins. 

Image showing the CIP Process timeline  
This graphic shows the critical steps in the capital improvements planning process including staff's role to prepare the CIP, Planning Commission's role to approve the CIP, use of the CIP for budget preparation, and City Council's role to approve the budget which provides actual dollars for capital project implementation. 

CIP Process ​​

  • ​Identify new projects and update existing projects; define needs, boundaries, and required elements

  • Prepare an estimated cost and potential funding sources for proposed projects

  • Score each project based on defined metrics, which provides a priority ranking of the identified needs, considering existing policies and defined community values

  • Prepare a schedule of planned expenditures. Prioritization scores are one factor in determining the order of project programming/scheduling, other factors include budget availability, staff capacity and coordination with related projects.

How are capital projects identified?

  • Comprehensive planning efforts, such as Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan, the Moving Together Toward Vision Zero Transportation Plan, or the A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan.

  • Staff identification of needs based on maintenance history, inspections, risk of failure, regulatory compliance needs, and long-term asset management planning. Over 70 staff are involved in the CIP process, plus community partners like the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA).

  • Requests initiated by community members as well as recommendations from city boards and commissions.​

What are the minimum requirements for a CIP project?​

  • Aligned with 1) an adopted or anticipated component of the City comprehensive ​plan, 2) a state or federal requirement, or 3) a City Council approved policy;

  • Constitute permanent, physical or system improvements greater than $100,000; or significant equipment purchases greater than $100,000 with a useful life of at least 10 years, or a study greater than $50,000 that will lead to such projects; and,

  • Add to the value or capacity of the infrastructure of the city​

​How can I provide input?

  • ​Comprehensive Planning: Significant public involvement opportunities are provided through planning efforts, which occur before projects are included in the CIP. Comprehensive planning initiatives often include a community advisory group and city-wide engagement opportunities.

  • Project implementation: Public input is sought during the study and design of individual projects before implementation or construction.  

  • CIP adoption: The Planning Commission and City Council seek ​input through public comment time at meetings for CIP adoption and the preparation of the ​capital projects budget. ​​​

CIP glossary

Allocation - Official City Council action that authorizes spending on a project.

Capital Improvement – New or expanded facilities and infrastructure that are relatively large, expensive, and permanent.

Capital Projects Budget (CPB) – Capital improvements projects that are programmed for the next two fiscal years.

Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) – A document that schedules projects for a period of six years into the future based on studies of available fiscal and staffing resources, and project justifications, benefits and priorities.

City Fiscal Year - From July 1 of any year until the following June 30.

Infrastructure - Basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of the community. These include the transportation systems, sanitary and water lines, parks, public buildings, etc., and the land affiliated with those facilities.

Comprehensive Plan – (sometimes previously referred to as “master plan") A guide for making decisions regarding the future physical development of the City and the implementation of plans, policies, and programs. The comprehensive plan is made up of planning documents, or elements, that provide recommendations for major geographic areas and essential citywide facilities.​