The City of Arkansas City is gathering citizen input on possible future projects and will form a short-term citizen committee to process those ideas next month.

As part of the planning for the 2019 budget and the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the CIP Committee will help staff to prioritize projects and funding, as well as provide another source of ideas.

The recommendations of the CIP Committee will be presented to the City Commission, along with staff recommendations, as part of the 2019 budget process in the spring and summer of this year.

There is an insert in the January utility bills that asks residents to submit their ideas for projects they would like to see the city complete in future years. Those bills were mailed out earlier this week.

Forms may be mailed back or the information submitted by email to CIP@arkcity.org. The citizen input forms, which are in both English and Spanish, also may be dropped off at the Utility Billing Office at City Hall, located at 118 W. Central Ave.

In order to expedite the planning process, residents are asked to return the forms by Feb. 28.

The form also can be found online at bit.ly/2018CIP or in the Document Center at www.arkcity.org.

Citizens who are interested in serving on the CIP Committee may sign up in one of four ways:

  • There is a gray box on the citizen input form that has been included with the January water bills. Simply check “YES” in this box to indicate you wish to serve on the CIP Committee.
  • The citizen input form also can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/2018CIP and filled out digitally. Return the digitally completed form to CIP@arkcity.org or print it off and bring it to City Hall.
  • Alternatively, you may download a board application form at http://bit.ly/AC-app-form. Just check the box for “Capital Improvement Plan Committee” to indicate your willingness to serve.
  • Finally, you may call (620) 441-4415 or email CIP@arkcity.org and provide your contact information in order to be recorded as a prospective committee member.

Interested citizens are asked to apply no later than Feb. 14. They will be appointed on Feb. 20.

If a citizen younger than 18 would like to participate, he or she is free to do so with parental approval.

The CIP Committee will meet three to five times in March and April to discuss and prioritize various city projects. Staff anticipates that the work of the committee should wrap up by the end of April.

What is a CIP?

CIP stands for Capital Improvement Plan and is an important planning document. This document is updated from year to year and serves a number of important functions in shaping the future of the city.

The CIP is an inventory of recommended or current projects and major capital purchases for the city. The projects, facilities, and other items mapped out by the plan will support the functions and programs of the city for the next five to 10 years.

As a result, the CIP serves as a guide for elected officials and city management in budget decisions addressing strategic planning for the city.

Examples of typical CIP projects include infrastructure, such as street projects, or capital purchases, such as purchasing or renovating a building or property. There are, however, many kinds of CIP requests.

You may want to think of the CIP as a recommended shopping list of purchases and projects the city needs to undertake in order to maintain its current services and achieve future community goals.

Keep in mind, though, that the CIP is a strategic document that keeps a watchful eye on the city budget and revenue sources to ensure the conscientious use of taxpayer money.

What is the CIP request process?

The city’s Capital Improvement Plan document always is evolving. In the CIP request process, a wide range of requests will be submitted for inclusion in the CIP document.

Citizens can suggest projects through the citizen input forms available in an annual mailing to utility customers and online at the city website, www.arkansascityks.gov.

These requests will be channeled to the appropriate department and developed into a formal CIP request.

Department heads are responsible for reviewing CIP requests, possibly in conjunction with the appropriate advisory board.

All CIP requests then will be reviewed by the CIP Committee, which is made up of advisory board members, representatives from other taxing entities throughout the community and Arkansas City residents interested in participating in the process.

CIP Committee recommendations will be reviewed by the city manager, who will review the proposed CIP and make professional recommendations before submitting it to the City Commission.

The City Commission then will review the CIP and staff recommendations so individual projects and/or programs may be inserted into the city’s budget for 2019 and beyond.

What is the mission of the CIP Committee?

The mission of the CIP Committee is to provide input on the needs and wants of the community by recommending how city management and the City Commission should prioritize CIP requests.

Specifically, the committee will review the priority ranking given to each project identified in the planning document, as well as the year in which the project is slated to be implemented.

Citizens don’t need special knowledge or expertise to be a constructive team member. Team members represent their opinion only, but that opinion will be shaped by other community members.

What the CIP Committee does not do is make financial decisions on which projects will or will not be funded. These decisions ultimately are made by the city manager and the City Commission.

What is the benefit of this process?

The city will receive the valuable benefit of citizens’ input through their participation as CIP Committee team members.

Moreover, committee members will have the ability to help to shape the future of Arkansas City by assisting the city in identifying and selecting projects that meet the needs of the community.

As CIP Committee team members, citizens will receive exposure into the inner workings of one of the most important work processes of their local government.

In addition, they will have the deepest thanks of elected officials, city staff, and their friends and neighbors.

This information was provided by City of Arkansas City Public Information Officer and Special Projects Coordinator Andrew Lawson.