Tag: capital planning

Fiscal Sustainability Plans – A Rose by Any Other Name

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet; – From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1600

This often-quoted phrase by Shakespeare’s Juliet seeks to nullify the fact that Romeo has the surname of her family’s enemy. Since that time people have used the phrase to convey that the nature of the thing is more important than what the thing is called. But, today’s world is more complicated than Shakespeare’s, perhaps not when it comes to love, but certainly with respect to getting people’s attention. Our in-boxes and lives are so cluttered that something needs to stand out in order to win our attention. The thing needs to be new, and/or solve our problems, and the name needs to portray this, otherwise we bypass it. Many names have evolved for the smart management of water infrastructure. Asset Management and Effective Utility Management are now common terms. The “fiscal sustainability plans” that EPA is requiring with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Amendments as part of the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) also incorporate elements of this smart management.

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Crosswalking between Gray and Green Infrastructure for Budget Officers

GreenRoof2As the green infrastructure (GI) approach to water management gains momentum, the budget process needs to adapt to some of the characteristics that make green distinct from the more traditional gray infrastructure approach. As communities are embarking on GI, shortcomings in the budgeting process can falsely create a bad first impression. When inaugural GI projects are grossly over budget for their installation, or need more frequent maintenance than planned, future GI projects may be blocked before the current project’s vegetation can become established enough to produce the significant benefits for which it was designed. However, considering and planning for certain key attributes of GI can fend off this negative cycle. Continue reading

Using an Index to Help Project Capital Costs Into the Future

Update: This blog post and the graph were updated on February 29, 2020 to reflect more recent price index estimates and trends.

Sitting at your desk very late in the afternoon, your coffee going cold, staring at a spreadsheet, crunching numbers for a Capital Improvement Plan. You’re ready to call it a day, but decide to do “just one more quick calculation” (you tell yourself). You glance over to the next cell, and you see it. It’s a simple question, but hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, hinge on it. “At what annual rate are your capital costs inflated into the future?” Do you have a good answer off the top of your head?

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