The first part of the continuum is planning.
Capital improvement planning includes the long-range (up to 10 years) planning and cost-estimating for constructing new or redeveloping existing facilities that are undertaken by the:
- Public Works Division (Roadway Operations and Maintenance Department, Technical Services Department, Infrastructure Planning and Geo-Resources Department, and the Fleet/Facilities Management Department) and their respective responsibilities for roads, trails, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, utilities, storm drainage facilities, county offices and buildings;
- Parks and Recreation Department and their responsibility for Open Space and recreational and community center facilities;
- Public Safety Division and their responsibility for law enforcement, fire, and animal control facilities;
- Zoning, Building, and Planning Department (ZBP) and their responsibility for sector plans that identify desired land use and zoning designations and future capital facility and infrastructure needs for the specific sector, or geographic area, being planned. ZBP also administers impact fees and leads the county’s efforts to complete Impact Fee Capital Improvement Plans.
Bernalillo County strives to improve how these departments coordinate and undertake their respective long range planning. Improved coordination will result in opportunities for collaboration, leveraging of resources, savings of dollars, and avoidance of potential conflicts. For example, park redevelopment may benefit from an adjacent road or utility project. At a minimum, the timing of these projects should be discussed by the respective project manager so that conflicts are avoided. If a pavement cut to a street is required for a utility or storm drain improvement to a park and that street is also slated for repaving, then the timing of all work should be coordinated so that a freshly repaved road is not cut afterward. An ancillary benefit of coordinated capital planning includes successful economic development recruitment for businesses to locate in Bernalillo County. All of this coordination benefits Bernalillo County taxpayers.
The Capital Improvement Program Technical Evaluation Manager, housed in the County Manager’s Office, is working toward:
- facilitating improved coordination among departments involved in capital planning and projects;
- assisting departments in their respective planning functions;
- linking capital planning with capital funding;
- consolidating the timeframes when capital-related tasks for the ICIP and CIP GO Bond, per State of New Mexico capital planning and election law, require the attention of different departments and the approval of the County Commission;
- leading the effort to improve and refine technical evaluation measures, and associated data collection needs, for the biennial CIP GO Bond;
- improving communication about the Capital Improvement Program internally within Bernalillo County and externally with the public;
- revising Ordinance 2-271 to reinforce the points above and strengthen the Capital Improvement Program.
The results of these separate long-range planning efforts undertaken by County staff from different departments are State of New Mexico-mandated plans that are tied to some funding sources.
- The State of New Mexico requires that local governments prepare and submit annual Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plans (ICIP). A current ICIP is a pre-requisite for any State of New Mexico capital outlay grant funding for a specific project to be awarded to a local government – the ICIP must identify the specific project. ICIP’s include the specific projects identified by different County departments in their long range planning. Commission approval of the ICIP is required before it is submitted to the State of New Mexico. Bernalillo County requests project-specific funding annually to the New Mexico State Legislature through capital outlay requests which must be approved by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
- Local governments that have adopted an impact fee structure for new development are also required every five years to prepare an Impact Fee Capital Improvement Plan (IFCIP). The IFCIP can only include capital facilities that add capacity to a system or network (e.g. roads, parks) since impact fees cannot be used to redevelop or rehabilitate existing facilities. Added capacity to meet the increased demand of a facility that is caused by population growth and land development is the nexus of impact fees. Some restrictions apply as to the type of facility eligible for impact fees. Community centers, for example, are ineligible to receive impact fees according to the 1993 Development Fees Act. Gymnasiums, however, at a community center are a specific exception to this rule. Staff from the ZBP works with Public Works, Public Safety, and Parks and Rec staff to prepare separate IFCIP plans for drainage, roads, and parks. Commission approval of the IFCIP is required pursuant to the Development Fees Act.
- The biennial Capital Improvement Plan (e.g. 2012 CIP GO Bond) goes to voters in even-numbered years in order to generate capital funds through the sale of general obligation bonds. CIP GO Bond funds are Bernalillo County’s most significant source of funding non-transportation capital projects identified through long-range planning and contained in the ICIP and IFCIP. Bonds can also be used to leverage federal transportation funds, which by dollar value are the most significant funding source. Not all projects, however, secure implementation funding from general obligation bonds. Bernalillo County has developed and implemented evaluation criteria to determine which types of capital projects needed by the Public Works Division, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Public Safety Division should receive general obligation bond funding. Commission approval is required of the general obligation bond package that is presented to voters. The majority of voters must approve individual general obligation bond questions (for Public Safety, Public Works, and Recreation facilities) in order for funding to be secured. This package of capital improvement projects is summarily referred to as the 2010 CIP GO Bond, 2012 CIP GO Bond, etc.
The Bernalillo County Capital Improvement Program will strive to make its various capital funding processes as integrative and efficient as possible for the benefit of departments, the public, capital projects, elected officials, and the State of New Mexico.
When totaled, Bernalillo County has approximately $661 million (not including any capital improvements or expansion to the Metropolitan Detention Center) worth of capital improvements in its ICIP and GO Bond that have been identified by departments and requested by the public. Fiscal constraint, programmatic limitations, and operational cost considerations preclude many projects from ever becoming a reality. While some of these projects are multi-jurisdictional in nature, the approximate cost is indicative of the problems facing Bernalillo County.