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NYS Comptroller


The Academy for New York State's Local Officials

Capital Planning and Budgeting: A Tutorial for Local Government Officials

Module 1 - The Capital Improvement Plan

Conducting a Capital Assets Inventory

An important step in capital planning is identifying current assets, appraising their condition and determining their capability to meet present and future needs. Although starting this inventory may seem like a daunting task, a number of practices can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the information gathering:

  • Use existing records where available. For example:
    • Your insurance carrier may already have base information on equipment and buildings.
    • If your local government had a GASB 34 audit, it will include an inventory of all public-works related assets, (values of bridges, roads and facilities), which can be incorporated into a comprehensive inventory system.
    • Vehicle and equipment maintenance records usually already exist.
  • Road and utility crews can monitor the condition of existing infrastructure as part of their regular job duties. Personnel with a strong working knowledge of an asset or facility often provide the most accurate and complete information on it.
  • Start with a single fund. While it would be ideal to begin with a comprehensive inventory with extensive information on condition and costs, it may be easier to focus on one fund at a time.
  • If there is not time to conduct a complete inventory, do a partial inventory, concentrating on immediate areas of need. For example, if fire services need to be improved, inventory and determine the condition of fire equipment and facilities.
  • Set up a process for continuous updates on assets and their condition. It is much easier to keep information in a central, electronic database that can be updated throughout the year.

  Next: Information to Capture