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Posted on: January 11, 2021

City Corner Column: New capital improvement plan process involves all departments, residents

Portrait of capital improvement project manager Todd Jarisch

If you look around at the plans taking shape in different City departments, you’ll see a common theme: a deliberate effort to enhance livability and address community needs by bringing City functions in line with residents’ expectations, particularly the goals outlined in the City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

The forthcoming capital improvement plan is a great reflection of this. I was hired last year as the City’s first capital improvement project manager, providing central oversight to the development of the capital improvement plan that will guide us for the next five years. The fundamental goal of the capital improvement plan is to improve safety, economic growth, mobility and lifestyle, all while focusing on Victoria’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Our city manager and other City leaders are committed to taking a proactive approach to improving Victoria, and being more intentional about the management of the capital improvement plan will help us to do just that.

Before we get into what will make this plan different from previous plans, it may be helpful to understand what a capital improvement project is. A capital improvement project is one that requires a high-cost investment, typically $100,000 or greater, and deals with assets that have a useful lifespan of 10 years or more. In Victoria, these projects include acquiring or expanding facilities, building or rehabilitating streets, restoring the Riverside Park duck pond and many other initiatives.

In previous years, the capital improvement plan was handled as a function of Public Works/Engineering without formal involvement from other City departments. Part of my role is to manage the plan in an all-inclusive way that ties together the goals and needs of internal and external stakeholders.

As part of this approach, City management’s goal is for the plan to be more closely aligned with the 2035 Comprehensive Plan as well as various forthcoming City master plans. As these plans and studies are completed, we anticipate more capital projects being identified and therefore added to the five-year plan. Aligning the capital improvement plan with other City plans will allow us to look at the “big picture” as we address our community’s needs.

We are working to develop a system of soliciting community feedback and plan to reach out to residents early this year to provide opportunities to get involved in the capital improvement plan. Next, we’ll finalize the plan and submit it to the City Council in May. The newly adopted plan will be a living, breathing document that will be subject to review and modification on an ongoing basis based on the new master plans and other developments.

I’m excited to see what improvements will come from the forthcoming master plans and how we can incorporate those needs and developments into the new capital improvement plan. If you have an idea for a project that would benefit the City, I strongly encourage you to get involved in the development of the capital improvement plan. We want to make Victoria a great place to live, but first we need to get a clear picture of what that looks like for our residents.

Todd Jarisch is the capital improvement project manager for the City of Victoria Public Works.

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