There are many benefits that result from an effective capital planning process. The process of prioritizing capital investments can make sure key assets are repaired or replaced before an emergency occurs. In addition having a sound capital projects plan allows us to engage our community in understanding the costs and benefits of maintaining capital infrastructure.
Based on direction provided by the Board of Fire Commissioners to replace equipment when required and to fully fund the Capital Projects Fund, the following approach was been taken in prioritizing capital projects.
- Take a proactive approach to improving operational capability and maintenance of adequate infrastructure to support district operations
- Begin the process of replacing staff vehicles and apparatus that has reached their end of life
- Reduce the District’s total vehicle inventory and increase the effectiveness and efficiency
- Avoid unscheduled capital projects resulting from malfunction and equipment failure
Capital projects have been defined as having a cost that is greater than or equal to $5000 and a useful life of greater than three years. In addition, a number of items with a unit price less than $5000, but purchased in large enough quantity to reach the $5000 threshold have been combined into capital projects. Examples of this type of project include purchase of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and fire hose and appliances.
While the 2012 lid lift allowed the District accelerate progress towards fully funding the General Capital Projects Fund for capital expenses related to apparatus and equipment, it did not fund important facilities capital projects such as development of adequate living quarters, administrative facilities, and apparatus maintenance shop at the Station 53 on Race Road or Phase II expansion of Station 51 on Main Street.
As architectural and engineering work further clarifies the options to meet the District’s facility needs, staff and the Board of Fire Commissioners will need to continue exploration of an appropriate means to fund development of these facilities.