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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 3 - From Plans to Projects


Once a capital improvement plan and budget have been adopted, the focus shifts to the individual capital project, whose successful implementation is determined by whether it is completed on time and within budget and achieves the intended benefits.

The governing board is ultimately responsible for the oversight and management of a capital project, including development of internal controls, even if oversight responsibility is delegated. If projects fall short of the local government’s expectations, it is the governing board’s responsibility to determine the reasons for those deviations, identify possible corrective action, and take appropriate action to address the problems.

The board should ensure that enough time is available to provide for proper planning. A move to rush the project forward could result in bidding out the project without realistic budget estimates or planning. In addition to allowing proper time for planning, the board must be sure that its expectations for a project are specifically defined in a written plan and communicated at the outset of the project. Otherwise, it makes it difficult for the local government to hold others accountable for their actions or non-performance.

Any local government can appoint an individual to act as "clerk of the works," (CoW), and be its representative on the construction site, although the position is more commonly found in smaller towns and villages that do not have the staff or the expertise to dedicate to overseeing a construction project.

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