The Capital Investment Plan (CIP) provides a 5-year roadmap for the City’s expenditure on major investments to critical infrastructure such as buildings, streetscapes, parks, property, and equipment. It serves as a companion to the City’s Annual Budget–providing a guide to spending on major improvements and maintaining the long-term fiscal health of the City. While the CIP maintains a 5-year planning horizon, it is revisited annually and evolves based on community needs and circumstances.
- How is the Capital Investment Plan different from the Annual Budget?
Both the Annual Budget and CIP guide how the City spends its money to provide municipal services to residents.
While the Annual Budget covers recurring operating expenses, such as staff salaries, supplies, and professional services, the Capital Investment plan covers expenditures on major non-recurring expenses (as defined by Massachusetts General Law) including buildings, streetscapes, parks, property, and equipment. The non-recurring expenses are typically financed through bonds, grants, and loan programs. The debt incurred by the City in the process of making such investments then becomes an expense on future Annual Budgets.
- How do we determine what investments are included in the 5-year CIP?
The CIP is the result of a complex prioritization process guided by community priorities and needs but constrained by finances, market conditions, and availability of resources such as land. The investments included need to represent the evolving nature of our community–both in terms of the City’s changing capacity to undertake improvement projects and the community’s expectations of a values-driven expansion of municipal services. Rooted in an understanding of community priorities, potential investments are then identified through technical evaluation and financial modeling by a range of City Departments and Divisions. Included in this work is the generation of standardized, high-quality cost estimates for each potential investment.
After investments are defined and costs projected, those potential investments are evaluated across a range of criteria including whether a project is needed for the following reasons:
- To protect, promote, or maintain public health and safety
- To facilitate the delivery of municipal services
- To advance equity
- To advance sound fiscal management of City funds
- To meet regulatory obligations and legal requirements
- To advance the community’s strategic goals
- To meet the values-based and life-quality priorities of the community
- How often is the CIP updated?
The CIP is updated annually due to the dynamic nature of financial, construction, and supply chain conditions as well as to ensure the City can be responsive to changing community priorities and needs. The decisions made are revisited each year and the CIP will adapt to meet changing needs and circumstances. Please note that due to the pandemic, CIP updates were temporarily halted for 2021 and 2022. This year, 2023, is the first CIP update since 2020.
- Why is the FY2023 CIP 5-years whereas past CIPs have been 10-years?
The last time the CIP was updated was in January 2020. Shortly after that capital investment was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that point, our community, its needs, and the broader environment have seen a great deal of change.
A 5-year CIP lends itself to greater adaptability, enabling the document to better reflect the City’s evolving needs and finances. Investments included in the CIP will continue their development, while potential investments not yet on the list will mature both in terms of community process and technical evaluation.
- Does the CIP need to be approved by the City Council?
While the City Council plays a crucial role in authorizing the City’s expenditure on capital investments, the Council does not need to approve the CIP. The Council’s authorization of expenditure typically comes in the form of approving the issuance of bonds and the acceptance of grant or loan terms for an individual investment. The CIP provides councilors with the information necessary to weigh individual investments in the context of how they could impact our ability to deliver other investments or the long-term financial health of the City.
- What if a project I care about is not on the CIP?
Many priority projects that are in various stages of review, community process, research, evaluation, or acquisition, do not yet appear on the CIP. Because the City has shifted to a 5-year CIP rather than a 10-year CIP, more projects are now in the preparatory phase for inclusion in the CIP than in the past. As each project gets closer to being ready, it will be reevaluated for including the next year’s CIP update. Some projects may still need additional community processes. Others may still be undergoing technical review. Some that involve the need for physical space like land or a building, may still be in search of a location. The important point is that the CIP will evolve annually as new projects mature and conditions change.
- How can the community get involved?
Community engagement for major public investment projects such as buildings, streetscapes, and parks is held on a project-by-project basis. When these community processes are announced, joining those discussions will help you learn about the project and be heard. The CIP is then developed with the outcome of those processes always top of mind as staff crunches the numbers, evaluates market conditions, and reviews the technical feasibility of projects. Then once a project is funded and design gets underway, the City usually holds public design and project meetings where the community has an opportunity to help shape the final features, purposes, and look of the project.
On March 9, 2023, City of Somerville Director of Infrastructure and Asset Management, Richard E. Raiche presented the Fiscal Year 2023 Capital Investment Plan update to the City Council. A recording of that full presentation will be shared below once available.
The FY2023 Capital Investment Plan is to available to view on the City’s FY2023 Budget Book presented through ClearGov.
This new ClearGov CIP portal provides high-level project descriptions that summarize each investment and how it aligns with the City’s goals. It also provides a dashboard-level view into each investment’s projected budgets and investment schedules:
Video of the presentation to the Council can be found below:
Visit the City Website
Visit Somervillema.gov to view a calendar of events and track the latest news from across the City.
Get City Newsletters and Alerts
Receive notification of important information and events in the City, such as project updates and opportunities to engage, severe weather alerts, and parking emergencies.
- Sign up for the City Newsletter for a weekly email with updates on City events, news, meetings, and more.
- Get City alerts by phone, text, or email. We’ll send you alerts about things like construction, snow emergencies, and other major events.
Follow Us on Social Media
Keep track of what's going on in Somerville with the City's official accounts:
SomerVoice is Somerville’s community engagement platform for City projects.
Check Upcoming City Council Agendas
Access agendas, minutes, and video for all meetings of Somerville’s City Council.
Contact 311 with Questions
311 is the City’s customer service line. Have questions about where to learn more about a particular project or investment? The City’s 311 team is here to help.
- By phone: Dial 311 from any phone in Somerville (617-666-3311 outside of Somerville).
- Download the 311 app on iOS or Android.
- Follow 311 on Facebook or Twitter
Somerville’s SomerViva Office of Immigrant affairs does proactive outreach in six languages through its multilingual community engagement team and through other means such as newspapers, fliers, language-specific social meeting channels, and more.
Programs & Initiatives
Please submit website feedback using this form. Be sure to include:
Thank you for your feedback!