VP announces revised capital project spending guidelines

Revised university capital project spending guidelines have been announced and are being shared by the Director of Capital Budget Tom Cole. These revised guidelines, approved by the Capital Funding and Priorities Committee, provide units across the university with assistance in determining how to proceed with capital projects and clear direction on funding requirements before a project can go forward.

The capital project spending guidelines were first created in 2009 as a structure to govern how and when a capital project moves through the project approval process. At a summary level, the guidelines require that a project be included in or as an addition to the university's approved capital plan before it can proceed beyond the conceptual or planning phase. A major requirement for inclusion in the approved capital plan is that the project has a full and certain funding plan for the one-time costs of the project as well as ongoing costs resulting from the project (e.g., operating and maintenance costs). The guidelines also have specific restrictions regarding the use of debt financing and requirements regarding the use of gift funding for projects.

The guidelines are intended to be revisited for possible revisions, annually, with adjustments made based on the economic environment and financial position of the university at the time of the review, or for other changes for the purposes of clarification or business needs. The university recently reviewed and revised the guidelines to be effective for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The changes include:

  1. The guidelines are to apply to capital leases and third-party developer projects.
  2. A project must be included in or an addition to the approved one-year capital budget for the current fiscal year in order to proceed. As a point of clarification, inclusion in the budget does not constitute authorization to proceed, and the project must still go through the normal project approval process.
  3. Projects funded by the SUNY Capital Plan for the Contract Colleges may be divided between the design and construction phases, with funding spanning more than one SUNY Capital Plan.
  4. Any source of funding for an authorized expenditure that is not in hand must have an available source of "backstop" funding identified and committed.

The actual Capital Project Spending Guidelines can be found at: http://dpb.cornell.edu/documents/capital_proj_spend_guide.pdf

They also can be accessed as one of the capital planning resources available at the Division of Planning & Budget's Capital Planning web page.

Elmira Mangum
Vice President for Planning and Budget