Asset management

All Alberta municipalities own, operate and maintain various infrastructure assets—each with a defined service life. Service life is the length of time an asset provides an acceptable level of quality, quantity, reliability, cost and responsiveness. Municipalities must ensure the full service life is attained, and that maintenance, rehabilitation and/or the replacement of assets are cost-effective. This guide offers a tactical framework to help municipalities address their social, economic and physical needs through the creation and implementation of an asset management plan.

The Municipal Government Act requires every Alberta municipality to complete annual audited financial statements, a copy of which must be submitted to Municipal Affairs, by May 1 of each year. The financial statements must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for municipal governments in Canada.

A new accounting standard was set by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB 3150) in 2009 that requires municipalities to record and report their non-provincial engineered public infrastructure (tangible capital assets) in their financial statements. Data collected for existing financial information systems, such as amortization and interest on long-term debt, can inform the asset management planning process.

Asset management not only looks at life-cycles and full cost accountability, but can also be used by any and every department within a municipality to guide infrastructure planning and development. It helps ensure responsible stewardship for the public works sector, administrative accountability and public transparency.

Asset management planning

What is asset management?

Asset management is defined as the process of managing a municipality’s assets in a cost effective manner, by analyzing the life cycle of all the assets in a community in order to develop information about future maintenance, new developments and capacity resource.

Asset management is crtical to effectively planning, maintaining and operating municipal infrastructure both on a short-term and long-term basis. It projects full life-cycle costs, levels of service, risks and future demands, assists municipalities, helping municpalities make informed decisions and improving data management and the evaluation of return on investments.

An asset inventory, also known as an asset register is a system for recording information about your municipal infrastructure assets. It is a record of the asset information, typically held in a spreadsheet, a database or a software system and includes data such as quantity, type and construction costs.

What are the benefits?

An asset inventory is essential to municipal asset management planning. It coordinates and stores information, allowing municipal leaders to make informed decisions regarding their infrastructure assets. The asset inventory can also assist in developing long-term municipal economic, social and political plans. It makes it easier to identify and respond to issues concerning the costs and risks associated with the maintenance, rehabilitation, replacement and removal of infrastructure assets. Benefits include:

  • Prolonging asset life and aiding in making informed decisions regarding rehabilitation, repair and replacement concerns;
  • Meeting consumer demands with a focus on system sustainability;
  • Setting rate based on sound operational and financial planning;
  • Budgeting focused on activities critical to sustained performance;
  • Meeting service expectations and regulatory requirements;
  • Improving response to emergencies; and
  • Improving security and safety of assets.

Contact us if you have any questions.

How to get started:

There are five basic steps to developing an asset management plan in your municipality. Click on the arrows below to get more details on the steps involved in asset management planning.

 

State of local infrastructure and assets
Understanding your financial situation
Informed decision making
Managing asset life cycles
Set, review, comply, and respond

Municipal best practices and resources

Government of Alberta and Asset Management

Alberta Municipal Affairs has developed an asset management approach, as required under the terms of the Canada-Alberta Gas Tax Fund Agreement. This approach has been approved by Infrastructure Canada.
 
Municipal Affairs also funded the development of an Asset Management Handbook and Toolkit to assist municipalities in managing their infrastructure assets. The toolkit includes a User Guide and Excel Workbook. See Municipal Affairs' asset management webpage for these resources as well as additional details on asset management.
 

AUMA is pleased to profile municipal best practices and external resources on asset management. If you know of any resources that could be added to this page, contact us.

Asset Management for Municipalities in Alberta: Navigating the Asset Management Journey

This report from the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties aims to help municipalities across the province to navigate the complex field of asset management, so they can find a process that is uniquely suited to their specific needs. Through coordination with asset management professionals across the province, the report evaluates the current and emerging asset management needs of Alberta’s municipalities and emphasizes the need to engage stakeholders and create buy-in to support municipalities in sustaining asset management efforts over the long term. View a summary and for the complete version of the report.

Asset Management Getting Starting Guide

This guide from the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association was developed to help municipalities understand asset management and how to use it to help support municipal operations. Access the guide

Saskatchewan also has an accompanying video series on asset management. Access the four part series and other asset management resources.

A Practical Guide to Evaluating Municipal Asset Management

This guide by the Ontario Municipal Knowledge Network provides tip sheets tailored for municipal elected officials, offering basic information about asset management inventories and outlining key questions that elected officials should ask when evaluating municipal asset management capacity. Topics include service levels, financial assets, and public communication. Access the guide.

Asset Management Tool for Municipal Finance Officers

This tool by the Municipal Finance Officers Association of Ontario includes an asset management plan checklist; templates to forecast costs and revenues; an infrastructure report card primer and sample report; and tip sheets on long term budgeting including debt management, council reporting, and integration with strategic planning. Access the tool.