Systems Planning

Capital Improvement Planning

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What is capital improvement planning? ​​

The Municipal Planning Act ​(PA 33 of 2008) re​quires the planning commission of a city to “annually prepare a capital improvements program of public structures and the general order ​of their priority, that in the commission’s judgment will be needed or desirable and can be undertaken within the ensuing 6-year period.”  It is the City Planning Commission's goal that the capital improvements plan (CIP) be used as a tool to implement the City Master Plan and assist in the City's financial planning. The Systems Planning Unit prepares the CIP for the City of Ann Arbor. 

The CIP outlines a schedule of public expenditures for a six-year period. It does not address all of the capital expenditures for the City, but provides for large, physical improvements that are permanent in nature that are needed for the functioning of the community, including transportation, parks, utilities, and municipal facilities improvements.

The CIP provides a list of high value capital budget items or projects for inclusion in the proposed Capital Budget or the proposed Operations and Maintenance (O & M) Budget of the City’s Annual Budget Document. 

Items to be included in the CIP typically are identified in one of three ways:

  • City master planning efforts, such as the Northeast Area Plan, Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan, or the City’s Non-Motorized Plan
  • Staff identification of needs through operations and maintenance of the City’s facilities and systems, such as water main breaks, bridge inspections, etc.
  • Citizen service requests, such as water main or sanitary sewer extensions. 
The CIP provides a methodology for turning these needs into projects by outlining anticipated funding sources and schedules for study, design and/or construction of the solutions to the needs based on the priority of the need, and the availability of funding and staffing resources to complete the projects.

To qualify for inclusion in the CIP, a single project or a program of projects in a common infrastructure or capital system (e.g., neighborhood parks system; Annual Local Street Resurfacing Program, etc.) must meet the following standards:

  • Be consistent with 1) an adopted or anticipated component of the City master plan, 2) a state or federal requirement, or 3) a City Council approved policy; and
  • Constitute permanent, physical or system improvements in excess of $100,000; or significant equipment purchases in excess of $100,000 with a useful life of at least 10 years, or a study of at least $50,000 that will lead to such projects; and
  • Add to the value or capacity of the infrastructure of the City.
The Annual City Budget Document includes an Operations and Maintenance Expenditures Section and a Capital Expenditures Section. Projects that are considered operational, maintenance or recurring are excluded from the CIP but are captured in the O & M Budget portion of the Annual City Budget Document. Capital expenditures not meeting the CIP criteria are included in the annual budget as capital expenditures; however, they are not included in the CIP.

The Planning Commission and City Council seek public input during the preparation of the CIP through public hearings. ​​Significant public involvement opportunities also are provided through master planning efforts, which occur before projects are included in the CIP, and during study and design of the projects after ​​they have been included in the CIP. 

Getting involved

For more information about the capital​ improvements planning process, contact Kayla Coleman, [email protected]​,  734.794.6430 x43728.​

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Kayla Coleman
Capital Projects Asset Manager
301 E. Huron St., 4th Floor
P.O. Box 8647
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
734.794.6430x 43728