A Closer Look: FY 2014 Actual to Planned Capital Commitments
Capital spending is essential to maintaining New York City’s economic prosperity and providing an improved quality of life for its residents. The City’s capital budget provides funding for a wide variety of physical improvements to assets valued at $35,000 or more and with a useful life of at least five years. With a Preliminary Ten-Year Capital Strategy that proposes $67.7 billion in capital commitments from Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 – FY 2025, the City’s capital budget facilitates essential infrastructure investments, enables key City services and underpins the community institutions that are the fiber of our City. Some common examples of capital spending include the construction of new facilities such as schools; the repair of existing infrastructure including bridges, water mains and roadways; the purchase of new equipment in schools, community centers and City offices; and major improvements to existing municipal facilities.
From an oversight perspective, monitoring the City’s capital budget poses several unique challenges which are exacerbated by the fact that the three major periodic capital reports published by the New York City Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – the Ten-Year Capital Strategy, the Capital Commitment Plan and the Capital Budget – do not present information that aligns in a readily transparent manner. Taken together, these complications have hindered the production of a straightforward comparison of capital budget lines.
This report by the New York City Comptroller’s Office contains a first-of-its-kind analysis that compares data showing actual capital commitments achieved and planned capital commitments by aligning units of appropriation (UA) with corresponding budget lines in the FY 2015 Executive Budget Capital Commitment Plan. Over $14 billion in total planned capital commitments were examined.
The searchable and sortable appendix at the conclusion of this report unlocks the ability to examine data for actual capital commitments against planned capital commitments for some 1,600 budget lines across 25 programmatic agencies and 40 project types.
The Comptroller’s analysis yields several interesting new insights into the City’s capital budget.