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Evolving CIPs to Deliver Community Impact

08.07.2020

DURATION 3 minute read

These are unprecedented times. City leaders across Texas are grappling with the challenge of continuing to provide for their communities under the economic and safety circumstances brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. They are being pushed out of their comfort zone and forced to figure out how to efficiently manage projects for vital community resources with reduced or limited revenue streams.

We are entering a new frontier for project management that is creating a dynamic that will impact municipal infrastructure and Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs) well into the future. Though the situation is unprecedented, it’s enabling cities and municipalities to adopt new technologies that allow for a better way to get things done.

 

Addressing Funding Gaps

Many CIP projects slated for this year were planned and programmed under different fiscal conditions, and some leaders may no longer be able to award comprehensive projects. Reevaluating the current CIP to understand the highest priorities and most impactful elements is a great way to maintain service, growth and add value for a municipality’s residents.  Collaboration with sister agencies and consultant teams to determine components that can be deferred while still serving the original intended purpose of a project is vital.

A total road reconstruction project, for instance, can be right-sized to a road rehab that still addresses the key issues of the overall project. If de-scoping is not an option, high-dollar projects can be segmented across fiscal years – allowing them to still be delivered across a longer time table.

When it comes to obtaining federal funding, ensure your team can demonstrate that it will meet the intent of the funds. Go back to the drawing board, have a second technical review and collaborate with sister agencies to determine which project would make the best nomination. Thorough communication will demonstrate a well thought out plan with all project components accounted for to ensure the funds will make the largest possible impact in your community.

 

Collaboration is Key

Through communication and reevaluation, these disruptions can be conquered, but municipalities and other public agencies cannot operate in silos if they want to succeed under current circumstances.

“Public works cannot stop because of COVID-19,” Assistant Director of Capital Projects for the City of Houston, Juan Chavira said. “The question now is how are we going to provide these services without compromising the health and safety of our team and community.”

COVID-19 aside, a CIP should be viewed as a system rather than individual project components. Comparing and aligning CIPs with sister agencies will help determine which projects should be prioritized and whether funds should be shifted to help complete critical projects. Doing so allows for a more integrated approach that results in a greater impact on the community.

 

 

If you would like to learn more about preserving continuity in times of crisis, check out our podcast, Texas by Design. Our Chief Public Markets Officer, Kevin Krahn talks with Juan Chavira, Assistant Director of Capital Projects for the City of Houston to discuss how the city is adapting to the current situation.

You can watch part one HERE and or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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