Capital Improvement Program Process

Capital Improvement Program Process

The Planning Commission recommends a new six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) each year. Starting in late September, the Department of Planning works with participating city agencies to solicit project requests, prioritize projects for funding, and prepare the six-year plan. Once the Planning Commission approves the six-year plan, it moves on to the Board of Finance and then the Board of Estimates for their approvals. Finally, the first year of the plan is approved by City Council as part of the Ordinance of Estimates and it formally becomes part of the next year’s budget. Visit the Get Involved page for a detailed timeline of next year’s program.

A more detailed timeline is below. 

  • October:  Planning provides agencies with target ranges for each fund source and instructions for submitting CIP requests. Agencies are given target funding levels higher than what the City will be able to fund. This allows agencies to express additional capital needs, and show what they would do if additional funds were to become available for capital projects.
  • December:  Agency CIP requests are due to Planning Department
  • December - March:  Planning staff performs detailed review of requests
  • Jan:  Select agencies present CIP priorities to Planning Commission
  • February/March:  Planning Commission approval of recommended CIP
  • March:  Board of Finance review of recommended CIP
  • May:  Board of Estimates approval of recommended CIP
  • June:  City Council adoption of Capital Budget
  • July 1:  New Fiscal Year begins

Evaluation Criteria

It is in the first part of this process that the Planning Department evaluates requests and incorporates them into a six-year plan. Projects are evaluated using the criteria below:

  • Necessary to protect public health and safety
  • City funding will leverage other fund sources
  • Capital investment will result in operating savings
  • Fulfills a state or federal mandate
  • Necessary to implement a priority housing or economic development project
  • Promotes private-public partnerships
  • Implements the City’s Comprehensive Master Plan, area master plans and/or agency/institution’s master plan
  • Implements the City’s Sustainability Plan
  • Agency has prioritized project
  • Promotes equity

Participating Agencies

The eight agencies which participate in the process and prepare a six-year program each year are:

  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Public Works
  • Department of General Services
  • Baltimore City Recreation and Parks
  • Baltimore City Information Technology
  • Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Baltimore Development Corporation
  • Baltimore City Public School System*

*Because a majority of its funding comes from the State, the Baltimore City Public School System (City Schools) follows a different timeline for approvals. The Planning Commission reviews and approves City Schools’ requests in September. The approved projects then become part of the larger package as the regular process moves through approvals.

Click here to learn about the funding that turns the projects listed in the capital improvement program into realities.