When it comes to asset management, governments have a lot at stake. It goes without saying—local governments are in charge of vital assets that citizens rely on for their day-to-day lives. Roads, buildings, and parks provide essential services that must be properly maintained for optimal use. 

Without proper maintenance and planning, these assets can deteriorate and ultimately lose value to their citizens, causing disruption and costing more in the long run. 

That’s why developing and implementing a comprehensive asset management policy is a critical responsibility for any local government. Governing bodies should track what they own, regularly assess their condition, schedule preventive maintenance, and plan for eventual replacements. 

The process of government asset management includes municipal infrastructure, public parks, heavy equipment fleets, and construction sites, all of which are overseen by city or state officials.

These actions all enable communities to provide reliable services in a fiscally responsible manner. This article examines the key components of an effective asset management policy for government entities. 

With sound policies and government asset management software, management teams and maintenance crews can more effectively care for vital government properties and shared spaces, providing quality infrastructure for years to come.

Defining government asset management

Government asset management is the complete oversight of municipal-owned facilities, properties, and assets. This includes acquisitions, identification, maintenance, operation, and sales of all government assets effectively and economically.

It’s vital for governments to care for their infrastructure cost-effectively while ensuring their citizens have reliable use of their facilities.

It involves balancing costs, opportunities, and risks against desired performance. Asset management includes evaluating the condition and performance of assets and developing economically sound strategies. The end goal is to provide the desired service levels to taxpayers and the community. 

Citizens rely on well-run roads, buildings, and equipment. Effective policies help governments deliver quality services now and in the future.

Types of governments that manage assets

Different types of governments are responsible for asset management, and each may have a different scope of duties based on size, location, and more. A few of the key government types and the facilities they manage include:

  • Cities: city halls, parks, roads, vehicles
  • Counties: courts, jails, clinics, roads, bridges
  • States: state buildings, highways, parks
Local and state governments are responsible for different types of assets, including parks, vehicles, roads, infrastructures, and more.

Because these governments provide a service for the public, they need asset policies. They must track, maintain, and plan for the facilities under their care. Responsible management lets them provide these services affordably.

Citizens expect well-functioning assets from cities, counties, states, and special districts. Adopting clear asset management policies demonstrates accountability and stewardship on behalf of taxpayers.

Unique government needs

It’s worth noting that private companies also manage facilities and equipment. However, local government asset management has some unique considerations and challenges. These must be considered during every step of the process to maintain compliance and integrity.

Accountable to taxpayers

As stewards of public resources, governments must judiciously manage assets on behalf of taxpayers. Transparency and fiscal responsibility are priorities.

Long life and heavy use

Many public infrastructures, like roads, bridges, and water systems, are built to last decades and withstand heavy daily use. Proactive strategies must consider extended lifespan and wear.

Follow finance rules 

Government finance rules, bidding requirements, and budget cycles impact how capital projects are planned and funded. Asset management policies must work within these constraints.

Report regularly

Regular reporting on infrastructure conditions and spending to legislative or state agencies is often mandatory. Asset tracking must support information needs.

Aging infrastructure 

Much of the government infrastructure is old and needs repair or replacement. Maintenance backlogs are common.

In summary, private asset management might only have to focus on profits to satisfy shareholders. Public asset management must balance service, transparency, regulations, and fiscal constraints.

Who is involved in government asset management?

Much like the rest of the government, asset management should work like a well-oiled machine. Each department plays its part. Effective asset management requires participation across the following departments and roles:

  • Public Works: Manages roads, bridges, and water/sewer systems. Conducts maintenance.
  • Facilities/Property Management: Manages public buildings and lands. Oversees maintenance and repairs.
  • Fleet/Garage: Manages vehicle fleet and heavy equipment. Handles maintenance and replacement.
  • Finance/Administration: Oversees budgets, capital planning, asset tracking, and policies.
  • IT: Provides support for asset management software platforms. 
  • Elected Officials: Set policy, approve budgets and projects, and represent community interests.
  • Consultants: Provide engineering studies and expertise for specialized assets.
  • Software Vendors: Offer technology solutions to inventory assets, plan maintenance, and manage work orders.

Coordination is key. Each employee must remember that communication and teamwork enable comprehensive management.

Importance of asset management

Proper asset management is critical for efficient, sustainable services. Governments must manage infrastructure, buildings, vehicles, and equipment responsibly. Tracking assets, conducting routine maintenance, and planning for eventual replacement enables communities to provide reliable services year after year.

Comprehensive management shows fiscal responsibility. Citizens expect wise stewardship of public assets, and regular reports, provide that accountability.

Roads, pipes, buildings, and IT systems need constant upkeep and planning. Disruptions to vital services are unacceptable, so diligent management is essential.

Thoughtful asset management also supports strategic capital planning and responsible budgeting. With detailed data on asset inventory, condition, and projected lifespan, governments can develop fiscally sound short- and long-term plans. This helps secure adequate funding and maintain strong credit ratings, saving taxpayers money.

In summary, proper asset management for the government should do the following:

  • Extends the life of infrastructure
  • Reduces emergency repairs
  • Sustains reliable services
  • Demonstrates judicious stewardship
  • Establishes capitalization thresholds

Types of assets managed by governments

Local and state governments own and manage a vast portfolio of infrastructure assets and equipment to provide valued services to the public. While not an exhaustive list, common categories include:

Government asset management includes equipment and machinery, buildings, utility fleets, emergency vehicles, land assets, and infrastructure.

Equipment and machinery

From bulldozers to power drills, local governments own an immense amount of equipment. Tracking the storage and use of these tools and heavy machinery is essential.

Buildings

Facilities like city halls, police and fire stations, hospitals, libraries, and schools must be in excellent shape to provide the public with critical services. Diligent upkeep includes building maintenance, regular cleaning, 

Utility fleets 

All cities must fulfill basic human needs through utilities. These include drinking water, sewer services, electricity, and solid waste management. A fleet of specialized vehicles and infrastructure is behind all of it. Flatbed trucks, dump trucks, street sweepers, and snow plows all need asset management.

Emergency vehicles

Likewise, ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars must always be mission-ready. Maintenance and replacement planning keeps a steady rotation of first-responder vehicles.

Land assets

Local governments own diverse land assets like parks, trails, and undeveloped properties. While less complex than infrastructure, open spaces still need tracking and upkeep as public resources.

Infrastructure

Municipality infrastructures maintain key utility services that see day-to-day use from citizens and visitors alike. Keeping the infrastructure working is key, and failure to do so could 

  • Roads
  • Rail lines
  • Bridges
  • Water pipes
  • Sewer mains
  • Storm drains
  • Traffic signals
  • Security cameras

What’s in a successful asset management strategy?

Here’s what government officials should consider doing as part of an effective asset management strategy:

  • Know what you own. Compiling a detailed inventory of all capital assets provides indispensable visibility into the scope of infrastructure. This baseline informs planning and priorities.
  • Assess condition reports. Regularly inspect and rate the condition of each asset. Doing so helps identify issues early when they are most affordably addressed.
  • Define maintenance plans. With condition data, preventative maintenance schedules can be optimized. Assets get attention when needed before problems escalate.
  • Forecast repairs and replacements. Lifecycle cost analysis determines long-term budgets. What is required to maintain assets at target condition levels?
  • Monitor and update. Asset data must remain current to reflect ongoing work, changing conditions, and evolving needs.
  • Leverage technology. Asset management software centralizes asset data. It helps streamline inspections, work orders, analytics, and reporting.
  • Secure adequate funding. Operating and capital budgets must include sufficient funding for proactive maintenance and major repair/replacement projects. 

Governments can sustain reliable infrastructure cost-effectively with rigorous tracking, maintenance, and planning.

What are the benefits of a successful asset management system?

Why is local government asset management critical? What benefits does a policy provide?

  • Extends asset life: Preventive maintenance keeps things like roads and vehicles in good condition longer, delaying replacements.
  • Reduces emergency repairs: Fixing minor problems early avoids significant failures later. 
  • Improves efficiency: Asset data guides strategic spending to maximize budgets.
  • Enhances reliability: Well-maintained assets avoid disrupting vital community services. 
  • Informs budgets: Lifecycle data enables fiscally sound short- and long-term plans.
  • Shows responsibility: Comprehensive management demonstrates prudent stewardship of public resources.
  • Reduces risks: Inspections identify safety issues like road defects.

Using government asset management software 

Technology plays an invaluable role in enabling effective asset management for the government. Purpose-built government asset management software centralizes asset data and automates inventory, maintenance, and work order management.

Key capabilities of a government asset management software can include:

  • Cross-departmental information and asset  management
  • Custom maintenance scheduling
  • Dashboards to assess and display condition status
  • Managing work orders and labor tracking
  • Mobile access to update from the field 
  • APIs and Integrations to satisfy unique use cases
  • Tools to model funding needs 
  • Scenarios to compare capital plans 
  • Detailed reporting

With comprehensive software, governments gain complete infrastructure visibility. This allows proactive, cost-effective management.

Why FMX?

map public works assets and infrastructure with government asset management software

FMX provides an asset and work order management solution designed specifically for facility teams’ needs, focusing on ease of use, customization, and customer success.

FMX is intuitive and easy to learn, so teams can benefit immediately. 

Depending on the size of your team and the needs of your city, town, or state, It can also match each organization’s specific requirements, unlike rigid one-size-fits-all systems.

Additionally, the FMX team offers hands-on support during onboarding, data migration, training, and ongoing partnership. Our high customer satisfaction rating demonstrates our commitment to each client’s success.

FMX was created by facility management professionals, for facility management professionals. With FMX, teams gain an adaptable solution tailored to their needs, enabling data-driven maintenance, strategic planning, efficient work order management, and optimized asset lifecycles.

There is a better way to manage assets and maintenance. FMX focuses on customer success, so you can focus on serving your organization. Schedule a demo with our team to learn more about government asset management software.


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