Capital Improvement Planning & Budgeting Resource Center

Maintaining high-quality infrastructure is essential to the economic vitality and quality of life of communities. A good capital planning and budgeting process helps communities make smart investments in infrastructure and, thereby, investments in the future.  A capital planning and budgeting process has three basic steps:

  • Define scope of the capital improvement plan (CIP). A government must decide what constitutes a “capital project” and how far into the future it will plan. Processes such as needs assessment can help define the scope.
  • Determine participants and select projects. A government must decide who will be involved in creating the CIP and then select projects to include in the CIP.  
  • Balance the CIP and connect to the budget. The capital investment choices must be financially sustainable, both in terms of the initial capital outlay and long-term operating and maintenance. Replacement costs and ongoing debt service should be part of a long-term financial plan.
  • Manage the project. Capital projects must be carefully managed in order to come in on time, on budget, and within specifications.



GFOA Best Practices

GFOA identified the following best practices related to capital planning and budgeting.



Government Finance Review GFOA Research


Additional GFOA Resources


GFOA Conference

GFOA Research


Best Practices


Other Links and Resources

Other Links

GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award winners (see “special recognition” column, filter for “capital”)

American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

Case Study

Town of Gilbert, AZ