The CIP Process
As specified in NH RSA 674:5, the Milford Planning Board is charged with directing the capital improvements planning process, based upon the Town’s adopted master plan goals and recommendations. The CIP process begins in late spring of each year with the distribution of project request forms by the Community Development Office. The Planning Board at that time also appoints a seven regular member/one alternate member committee representing several areas of Town operation and general citizenry.
The Committee meets regularly starting in late spring with the goal of completing a final draft Capital Improvements Plan for public review in early fall. During this time the Advisory Committee meets with department heads and representatives of the boards and commissions that submit project requests. The Committee generally follows a basic five-step process in accumulating, analyzing, evaluating, ranking, and allocating project requests to appropriate years in the upcoming six-year time frame, with the intent of balancing needs and costs with Town financial constraints and reasonable and logical implementation timeframes.
Step 1: The Community Development Department transmits project request forms to all applicable department heads, commissions, and the Milford School District SAU office. Projects are referenced by either a new or previously given project number to facilitate easier identification and review of projects. Each project is also to have a Statement of Need in addition to the Description. The Statement of Need enables the Advisory Committee to understand why the project is required for continuation or increase of Town services and the impact of delaying or not accomplishing the project. When applicable, project requests are cross-referenced to where they are included in the Milford Master Plan.
Additionally, the Project Request form seeks project rationale and justification based on a series of factors used to evaluate. The specific project request addresses whether it:
a. removes imminent threat to public health or safety,
b. alleviates substandard conditions or deficiencies,
c. responds to federal or state requirements to implement,
d. improves the quality of existing services,
e. provides added capacity to serve growth,
f. reduces long-term operating costs,
g. provides incentive to economic development,
h. is eligible for matching funds available for a limited time,
i. is a continuation of an existing project,
j. addresses public demand,
k. extends the useful life of the current facility or equipment, and,
l. any “other” if there are additional extenuating circumstances justifying project inclusion in the CIP.
Step 2: The Advisory Committee reviews project requests, and schedules a meeting with the respective department if needed to discuss each project.
Step 3: The Advisory Committee studies projects individually and through group discussions. Evaluation includes review of the level of preparation applied to the requested project. The Advisory Committee utilizes a policy that a minimum of a conceptual drawing or architect’s rendering is required for any facility which is expected to be placed in the next three (3) year “window”. Not all projects submitted each year are necessarily recommended for inclusion in the CIP Plan. This may result if the Committee determines that a project has not established sufficient need or if it is unlikely to achieve support to implement during the plan years. The Planning Board can bring back a project back into the CIP based on its review, public input, and further department justification.
Step 4: Using the requestor’s recommendation as a starting point, the Advisory Committee discusses and develops a consensus on the recommendation for the year in which the project should be placed on the Town Warrant. A project that is included in the CIP does not mean the project will be implemented as implementation is subject to additional factors. For projects requiring bonding the tax impact is noted the year after the warrant article is presumed to pass which is when the tax rate impact occurs. The CIP Committee adjusts recommended warrant article and funding years to smooth and balance the fiscal impact and maintain a reasonable debt level each year. The Committee considers the overall debt load from all bonded or lease purchase acquisitions by the Town and the School District.
Step 5: The Advisory Committee considers the projects that are recommended for placement on the next year’s Town warrant and prioritizes those particular projects to provide its recommendations on urgency and need. This prioritization gives the Board of Selectmen, Budget Advisory Committee, and the public the input needed from the Advisory Committee when those bodies deliberate during the ensuing development of the next year’s budget and warrant articles.
Upon completion of the five-step process, the Advisory Committee:
1. Prepares the ‘final’ draft report with the assistance of the Community Development Office;
2. Presents the final draft to the Planning Board at a Planning Board worksession;
3. Presents the final draft to the Board of Selectmen to brief the Board on its recommendations;
4. Transmits a copy of the final draft report to department heads, the Board of Selectmen, the Budget Advisory Committee, and the Planning Board;
5. Schedules a public hearing date with the Planning Board;
6. Presents the CIP at a Planning Board meeting for the required public hearing and adoption.