If a comprehensive plan recommends the adoption of higher regulatory standards or ordinance changes, the Delaware Code mandates that it must be accomplished within 18 months of plan adoption. However, barriers such as inadequate funding, staffing, and timeline can hinder execution of many other aspects of plans. Delaware Sea Grant’s Natural Hazard and Climate Change Adaptation Tool Kit for Delaware Communities recommends that local governments consider needs related to administration and staffing, implementation steps and timeline, financing and budget, monitoring, and alignment with existing priorities.
To plan for long-term costs associated with implementing flood-ready projects as recommended in a comprehensive or other plan, a local government should consider preparing a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). A CIP is a plan for capital expenditures of a government to be incurred each year over a fixed period of future years. While policy guidelines vary, capital projects are generally expenditures for infrastructure, buildings and facilities, equipment, and land that tend to be expensive (over a certain dollar amount), non-recurring, and have a useful life expectancy of more than one year. Construction projects that are designed to protect, keep water away, or improve infrastructure resiliency may require borrowing of funds that can be included in a town’s CIP.
In addition, local government capital funds may be used as a match to apply for federal or state grants that fund structural flood hazard mitigation projects, drainage system improvements, property acquisition, and other investments in flood resilience. CIPs can also be used to direct investment to Level 1, 2, and infill development areas that are away from high-risk flood areas and that are designated for growth and (re)development—consistent with the Delaware Strategies for State Policies and Spending.
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