Monday, January 23, 2012

City Council, January 23rd - the CIP

While Chickens will probably get the headlines, tonight City Council also takes the first look at the draft Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2012-13 to 2016-17. Chicks are way cuter than CIPs, it's true, but the CIP is $142M of stuff.

As you can see from map from last year's CIP (a bit of a frankenmap, stitched together from a couple of different views and resolutions of the original version online), the City develops all kinds of capital investment projects - from sewer lines to roads to parks.
A capital improvement plan (CIP) is a five-year plan for financing major public assets based on City-adopted master plans, goals and policies. The purpose of a CIP is to match scarce financial resources with the capital needs of a growing community and to preserve or enhance existing capital assets to provide efficient city services....

The City Council’s role in the CIP begins each year with receiving the Preliminary CIP and setting a public hearing. In preparation for the public hearing, staff provides notice to the community in general and also communicates specifically with all neighborhood associations. At the public hearing, staff provides a presentation designed to educate both the City Council and the public about capital planning in general and the planned projects in particular. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Council votes to adopt the CIP either as presented or with whatever changes it deems appropriate. Whatever version of the CIP is adopted becomes the Adopted CIP. Staff completes the annual cycle by publishing the Adopted CIP.
The overall plan budgets about $142M spread over multiple categories.If you include the airport and parking structures, transportation accounts for about $80M of this! The bond measure is a big part of that, of course, supplying most of the $33M and $22M in the first two years of the cycle.

Here's the breakdown on the funding sources just for transportation (not including parking structures and the airport). This is the funding reality that makes it unlikely to see new projects for biking and walking added to the existing CIP - meaning we'll have to wait potentially for fiscal year 2017-18 for meaningful projects!

The 1% for bike/ped allocation is always surprising. Consider that a pedestrian median in a crosswalk costs about $40K - the 1% then will fund two of them a year! That's the scale for that funding source.

A couple projects stood out to me (most everything is stuff already talked about):

Right of way purchases for a bridge.

And a curious slush fund! I suppose these are probably matching funds from Urban Renewal Areas.

If not, perhaps there are some additional grant opportunities for walking and biking facilities buried in here.

The CIP is not inherently very exciting reading, but it is interesting - for all the groovy words like "sustainability" and "biking and walking" we might use, the money doesn't always get put where the mouth is. It's where we see the actual priorities made real.

Legislative Priorities

The draft Legislative Policy Direction for the 2012 session seeks to avoid "unrealistic" greenhouse gas reduction efforts and pointedly avoids mentioning support for biking and walking in transportation funding.
Green House Gas Reductions. Oppose greenhouse gas reduction legislation that contains unfunded and/or unrealistic planning requirements that burden local governments or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).
Public Transportation. Support legislation that provides funding and support for a wide range of transportation modes, including transit, intercity rail, air travel, and other related businesses.

Waste to Generate Methane and Electricity

A pilot study rising out of the Sustainable Cities Initiative to explore using waste from SeQuential Biofuels to generate methane and power at the Willow Lake Sewage Treatment Plant:
One of the pilot studies currently anticipated will consist of directly injecting the residual from the production of biodiesel into the digestion process. A local company that currently transports its residual to Portland is interested in participating in the pilot study. If the pilot study is successful, the treatment of the residual would generate additional methane gas that would supplement methane currently produced and would be used for power and heat generation. This concept was identified during the Sustainable Cities Initiative as a part of the Industrial By-Products Component. The results of the pilot study will be used to evaluate the potential costs and benefits of using the available excess treatment capacity at Willow Lake to treat directly injected residual by-product.
And finally, in an information report, Council will see the Planning Commission's approval for the Boise/Pringle Square project.

As I understand it, the Commission made no substantive changes to the staff recommendation, so that project will move forward.

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