The Academy for New York State's Local Officials

Capital Planning and Budgeting

A Tutorial for Local Government Officials


A local government’s inventory of capital assets often represents its most significant investment of municipal resources. To ensure that essential operations continue uninterrupted, local managers must effectively plan for the acquisition and replacement of them.

Capital assets, which are sometimes called fixed assets, generally have a useful life of more than one year. Examples include the acquisition or construction of, or improvement to, property (typically land or buildings); the purchase or manufacture of equipment, such as vehicles or machinery; and development and major reconstruction of infrastructure, such as communications, sewer, water and highway systems. Capital assets may be owned outright or acquired through agreements such as lease-purchase.

We have provided a list of capital assets or acquisitions and their useful lives, as determined by the NYS Office of General Services. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.