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ProjectSelect Alternative Analysis Model

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In evaluating utility district capital projects, it is beneficial to utilize a model to systematically analyze viable project alternatives and maximize public investment. Effective project design and management is increasingly important to local jurisdictions and other organizations facing constrained financial and staffing resources. These jurisdictions benefit from concise methods in which to evaluate and prioritize project spending.

Decisions for public spending often face a higher level of external scrutiny than private sector spending. Citizens view expenditures they are compelled to make for utilities and predetermined service levels with concern for the value of benefits received. Cost effectiveness therefore is a vital concern. As well, in many cases there are compelling non-financial factors that need to be taken into account. A model that compares and contrasts different alternatives to a project and addresses both financial and non-financial considerations is therefore desirable.

ProjectSelect, is an Excel™ based computer model designed to evaluate capital project alternatives. This model, developed jointly by CH2M HILL and Clean Water Services of Hillsboro, Oregon, supports objective evaluation of both financial and non-financial parameters of project alternatives, providing quantitative and qualitative justification for whether to undertake a project and, if so, the “optimal” alternative for doing so. The model applies a systematic and rigorous analysis, and establishes a standard format for presenting business cases to decision makers.

This paper provides an overview of the development, features and benefits of this model. It begins with an overview of Clean Water Services and its need for the model. This is followed by discussion of the model's design and features, and an example of its use in analyzing alternatives for a million dollar plus utility pump station project. The paper describes the current uses and the impact of the model in Clean Water Services, and closes with conclusions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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