All development, improvement, and maintenance is governed by the Capital Improvements Program (CIP), prepared every two years to cover a six-year cycle. The CIP includes new or renovation projects costing over $25,000 with a useful life greater than 15 years. It also includes smaller planned life cycle asset replacement (PLAR) projects that increase the life of assets.
The most recent CIP was approved by the Montgomery County Council on March 26, 2016. The County’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains information about prior CIPs on their website. Please click here to access their library by fiscal year.
Projects considered for inclusion in the CIP evolve from various sources, including but not limited to:
- Variety of plans and studies, e.g. master plans, functional plans, needs plan (Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan [LPPRP] )
- Approved facility plans
- Citizen requests at public forums, letter etc.
- Planning Board directives
- County Council directives
- CIP requests submitted via an intra-departmental on-line CIP Request Form
- Land acquisitions and developer park donations
There are two major types of capital development projects in the CIP: (1) Stand Alone Projects and (2) Level-of-Effort Projects.
- Projects which have completed and approved facility plans
- Include large park renovations or construction of new parks
- Budget and appropriation are required to be approved by County Council once created
- More than likely have operating budget impact
- Close out once appropriation has been spent and project is compete
- Example: Development of Greenbriar Local Park
- Smaller projects that do not require extensive planning and design
- Include mostly infrastructure maintenance projects
- Generally less than $300,000
- Supported by a consistent annual funding level
- Projects are reviewed each fiscal year and reprioritized as necessary
- Less likely to have operating budget impact
- Stay active indefinitely
- Example: Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement of Playground Equipment
Examples of Level-of-Effort projects include:
- Ballfield Initiatives: Projects include ballfield lighting, and reconfiguration and upgrades of existing fields.
- Minor New Construction: Projects include a variety of new park amenities, such as new picnic shelters, dog parks, stormwater management and drainage upgrades, parking lot expansions, retaining walls, and sewer improvements.
- PLAR (Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement): Projects include various improvements to existing park amenities such as playgrounds and tennis courts.
- Pollution Prevention and Repairs to Ponds and Lakes:Projects support continuing efforts to update and maintain our existing facilities to meet today’s environmental standards.
- Restoration of Historic Structures: Projects include the repair, stabilization, and renovation of some of the important historical structures and sites that are located on parkland.
- Resurfacing Parking Lots and Paths: Projects support the lifecycle renovation of parking lots, entrance roads, and paved walkways.
- Roof Replacement: Projects support roof replacements at park buildings and other structures such as picnic shelters.
- Trails: Hard & Natural Surface: Design & Construction: Projects include design and construction of new trails and extensions or connectors to existing trails, trail amenities, signage, and renovations along existing trails.
The facility planning process is required when variables or options involved in a project do not support reliable independent cost estimating. This process includes a program of requirements (POR), engineering and environmental studies, feasibility studies, concept plans, and park management plans.
The purpose of a facility plan is to produce a well-reasoned project cost estimate and takes the project through 30% design as required by County Council. Also known as “preliminary design,” a facility plan includes topographic surveys, traffic studies, conceptual site plans, schematic drawings, cost estimates, and most of all…public input!
The CIP also includes funding for the acquisition of land for purposes of park development and conservation of open space. The following is a list of the different types of acquisitions as they are captured in the CIP:
- Acquisition: Local Parks: Acquisition of land to develop urban, local, and neighborhood parks
- Acquisition: Non-Local Parks: Acquisition of land to develop regional, recreational, stream valley, conservation, and special parks
- Legacy Open Space: Acquisition of land of countywide significance that may be of exceptional natural or cultural value
- ALARF (Advance Land Acquisition Revolving Fund):Revolving acquisition fund used to acquire rights-of-way and other property needed for future public projects
- Park and Planning General Obligation Bonds
- County General Obligation Bonds
- State Bond Bills and Grants
- Program Open Space
- Contributions and Donations
- Federal Grants
- Enterprise Funds
- Current Revenue
Factors to Consider
CIP Projects are prioritized based on several factors, including:
- Planning Board criteria, including safety and environmental factors
- Infrastructure Condition Assessment Study priorities
- Facility planning evaluation matrices
- Priorities assigned by field staff
- Priorities assigned by a CIP evaluation committee, consisting of senior management
- Public needs
- New projects versus renovation projects
CIP capacity is limited by the following:
- Fiscal Capacity
- Available funding sources
- Spending Affordability Guidelines (SAG)
- Local Projects – SAG limits on Park and Planning Bonds
- Non-Local Projects – All Montgomery County agencies compete for same funding and SAG
- Balancing a growing backlog of projects with new priorities and needs
- County Executive’s Readiness Criteria
- Implementation capability (limited resources,including staff)
- Operating budget impact (OBI)
There are several opportunities for the public to participate in the CIP process:
- Montgomery County Planning Board (MCPB) and Recreation Advisory Boards Joint CIP Public Forum (Spring of odd years)
- Council CIP Public Hearings (February of even years)
- Public hearings for master plans and facility plans, and other MCPB hearings
- Letters to MCPB, County Council, Park and Planning staff