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Capital Improvements Management Office marks milestone

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Capital Improvements Management Office has reached a milestone in its organizational development. In January, CIMO not only celebrated its third anniversary but also the first year of operation under the guidance of City staff.

The City launched the three-year public/private partnership in January 2004 with MWH Global, and Burns & McDonnell. These private industry consultants taught City staff how to use best practices and tools to optimize the City's management of capital projects, completing more than 199 projects in the process. They left CIMO in December.

The mayor, City Council and city manager devised the formation of a centralized and consolidated capital improvements office to address an existing backlog of capital projects while simultaneously making improvements to the City's delivery system and taking on new capital projects. This approach also was supported in the 2005 City audit entitled "Capital Improvements Management Office," in which the city auditor endorsed the City's consolidation efforts regarding construction management. This decision has proven a success not only in the volume of contracts issued to the local contracting community but also in the cost effectiveness for internally managing capital projects.

"The improvements made to the way the City delivers capital projects has impacted both city government and our neighborhoods and the local contracting community," said Mayor Kay Barnes. "We are attracting more competitive bids while at the same time projects are being completed faster, thereby garnering cost savings for the entire community."

CIMO is currently responsible for managing a portfolio of 233 active capital projects valued at more than $960 million. These projects include the Music Hall renovation, the St. John Corridor streetscape improvements, 69 traffic signal upgrades, and more than 50 storm and sanitary sewer improvements.

"The efforts from CIMO have greatly improved the quality of service and projects produced from City Hall," said City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen. "Not only are we making great strides in the central business district with more than $60 million in infrastructure improvements spent in the Power & Light District alone, but we are also impacting our neighborhoods and quality of life in a major way." To date, $42 million in public safety projects have been completed, $29 million in bridge projects have been completed, and $27 million in water projects, including sanitary and storm sewer improvements, have been completed.

Numerous process improvements have been made in the course of managing this project portfolio. Project completion time is now averaging 18 months, as opposed to the 36 months prior to CIMO. Payments to contractors are now being processed at an average of 23 days, three times faster than in 2003. These achievements have helped to keep project costs down by expediting certain time elements within a project's life cycle while allowing the local contracting community to plan their resources more effectively for projects.

An overview of CIMO's operations and successes over the past three years can be found on the City's Web site at

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