Tag Archives: CIP

The Transparency Project: Part 3 – What Does the Past Cost Tell Us?

6 May

This is the third blog post from the Transparency series, following the steps of the Mode Shift CIP game board. This blog post focuses on the Capital Improvement Program’s (CIP) past cost data:

The Expenditures (actual cost) for each project active in the Previous Year

The Appropriations (funds allocated as budget) for each project scheduled during the Current Year

The Capital Budget (budget designated for Capital Improvement) for each project scheduled during the Next 6 Years

We are going to focus on two questions:

  1. What is the City of Omaha spending on transportation?
  2. Is the CIP reliable?
    • If a project is scheduled to start in a certain year, can we count on it starting as planned?
    • If a project is budgeted for a certain amount, can we count on it cost that amount?

Let’s start with a few definitions:

  • Current Year – The year in which the CIP is published
  • Next 6 Years – The 6 years that follow the Current Year
  • Previous Year – The year before the Current Year

Each CIP is supposed to include:

A. The Expenditures (actual cost) for each project active in the Previous Year.
B. The Appropriations (funds allocated as budget) for each project scheduled during the Current Year.
C. The Capital Budget (budget designated for Capital Improvement) for each project scheduled during the Next 6 Years.

Even though B & C above have different names, we can both treat them as budget. So we can say that each CIP is supposed to include:

A. The actual cost for each project active the Previous Year
B. Project budgets for the Current Year and for the Next 6 years

Let’s return to our questions:

    1. What is the City of Omaha spending on transportation? If we add up all the actual costs, we’ll get the answer.
    2. Is the CIP reliable? If we can show that each project’s actual cost occurs when planned and matches the budget, then the CIP is reliable.

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The Transparency Project: Part 2 – What Is the Fund Source?

2 May

To catch up on the Transparency Project, you can review our Introduction to Capital Improvement, and Transparency Project: Part 1 – Capital Improvement Program, What’s Inside

This is the second blog post from our Transparency Project series on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). We’re following the Mode Shift CIP game board and we’ve reached step 2: A look at the CIP’s funding.

We started by looking at the details inside each of the three bins shown above. Along the way, we question a surge in the use of City funds, a plunge of the federal contribution, phantom local funds, and millions of work left out of the CIP.

Three Main Sources

We can divide the $322 million 2017-2022 capital budget for transportation projects into 3 main sources:

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The Transparency Project: Part 1 – Capital Improvement Program, What’s Inside?

1 May

As promised, here is the first installment of the blog posts from our Transparency Project. See the introduction to the series here.

This blog post takes the reader into the basic content of the CIP and compares what it should be to what it is, the first step along the Mode Shift CIP Board Game.

Transportation Capital Budget: $322 million. Or is it $319 million?

In August 2016, the 2017-2022 CIP was approved by the City Council. The public copy of the CIP was published in October of 2016, and is available online.

A note on the CIP years (boring but important):

Each CIP is designated by the six year span of its capital budget. This six year span always starts the year after the CIP’s publication year. For example, the 2017-2022 CIP was published in 2016. So when we refer to the 2017 CIP, we refer to the CIP which covers the capital budget years 2017-2022, and was published in 2016.

The Transportation section spans from page 9 to page 36. After an introduction and text of some milestones, each transportation project is listed, along with some cost and budget details. The whole section is summarized on page 36, where the middle column is:

2017-2022 CIP – Page 36, Transportation Totals, missing $3.3 million

Wait, didn’t we just mention a different number? We said the transportation Capital Budget for 2017-2022 was $322 million. And it is. The totals on page 36 of the City Council approved CIP are missing over $3.3 million in the Capital Budget. The CIP approved by the Council in August 2016 had even more errors than the CIP published in October of 2016.

Mode Shift punched every number for every project for all available CIPs into a database and found that there are a dozen or so errors on the Transportation totals page (for a view of all the errors on the totals page, click here)

The CIP Narrative

The Transportation section of the CIP starts with 4 pages of narrative to explain the Program Formulation, Transportation Milestones, and Key Additions to the CIP. Continue reading