Critically important municipal infrastructure assets such as water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, buildings, and roadways deteriorate over time. Sustainable and affordable management of these assets requires data-based strategies to develop prioritized, integrated, and cost-effective asset management and renewal programs. That’s where an effective Asset Management Program is key. Did you know that establishing an Asset Management Program for your system can help you develop and implement a short- and long-term Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) with future budget projections?
Asset Management is the process of using asset condition assessment, performance efficiency, criticality of function, and maintenance history to determine when an asset should be upgraded or replaced, along with projected costs. The result is a prioritized CIP to assist in projecting future annual budget needs. This in-turn can be used to help justify and determine user fee adjustments.
Asset Management allows you to coordinate the timing and financing of capital improvements over a multi-year period, or in other terms: where to spend your available money first. For example, performing a condition assessment on a 60 Hp pump to determine its current condition, expected useful life, and replacement cost gives you the ability to determine the timing of such replacement and avoid an underfunded maintenance or CIP program. This is most important when working with critical assets.
There are many benefits to proper capital improvements planning. Some examples include minimizing unanticipated and costly emergency repairs, planning future revenue needs, system reliability, improved environmental compliance, and the potential to qualify for funding opportunities.
Asset Management Programs come in many shapes and sizes and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Development of an Asset Management Program may seem like a daunting task when all you may need is a basic roadmap to more effectively budget and manage your assets. When completed, an Asset Management Program will:
- Create an inventory of assets
- Assess current asset condition
- Determine useful life and value
- Develop a prioritized schedule and budget for asset renewal
- Identify financing strategies
- Help ensure the asset renewal program is integrated with the overall infrastructure master plan
In order to help ensure compliant, safe, and reliable infrastructure systems, funding and regulatory agencies encourage communities to establish Asset Management Programs by providing funding opportunities. Many states maintain their own Asset Management Grant Funding. For example, the Massachusetts DEP has an Asset Management Planning Grant Program with the purpose to assist eligible entities with completing or updating Asset Management Plans for wastewater, drinking water, or stormwater systems, or any combination of the three. This program is also aimed at assisting eligible entities with meeting federal Fiscal Sustainability Planning requirements. This program provides grants up to $150,000 or 60% of the estimated asset management assessment costs. Smaller systems can request a waiver to increase the grant to cover 100% of the program costs.
Creating and implementing an Asset Management Program is an ongoing, dynamic process that, when completed, will help your community or utility map out a sustainable path forward.
Wright-Pierce has been a trusted advisor to municipalities in not only applying for grants and developing asset management plans, but also with ongoing evolution of these plans. Let us help your community or utility map out a sustainable path forward. Contact us today to learn more.