Alamo Area Council of Governments
Currently the AACOG is staying out of the RED ZONE by attaining the ozone standard. As ozone levels continue to rise this season, the Clean Air Gauge indicates how close our region is to violation of the federal air quality standards, shown on the gauge as the RED ZONE.
Frequent rains this summer significantly contributed to our region’s low ground-level ozone levels; however, in August, the AACOG region incurred three Air Quality Health Alert days: August 12, 13, and 14. Fortunately, no exceedances on the region’s regulatory monitors were recorded on these days.
Continue to help keep our region out of the RED ZONE by carpooling or vanpooling, refueling your vehicle after 6 p.m., maintaining your vehicle, walking or cycling, riding the bus, and avoiding unnecessary engine idling. For more information, visit www.CleanAirDrive.com.
East Texas Council of Governments
ETCOG is the designated Rural Transit District in the East Texas 14-county region. ETCOG provides transportation to the rural areas of our region for any purpose including doctors’ appointments, work, shopping or just visiting friends and family.
For riders over the age of 60, there is no charge to ride inside your county of residence, but a suggested donation is greatly appreciated. To ride the bus into another county or further, there is a set fee schedule that the dispatcher will tell you about. For riders under the age of 60, there is a nominal charge to ride within your county and a set fee for trips of longer distances.
Minibus Inc. contracts with the East Texas Council of Governments to provide this service to the citizens of our 14 county-area. They operate Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call to speak with one of their dispatchers to arrange for a one-time trip or a regularly scheduled ride.
Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission
GCRPC is specified by the Governor’s Office as the agency responsible for regional criminal justice planning. Funding for GCRPC criminal justice program is provided to assist in developing and preparing the Regional Criminal Justice Plan and to ensure that the local grantees and applicants for CJD funds receive adequate technical assistance.
Funds are provided for regional law enforcement training, juvenile delinquency, and crime prevention programs. Federal funds are used in the region for purchase of services for juvenile probation programs. These programs enable local governments to certify local law enforcement officers, assist the county juvenile probation departments and the school in juvenile justice efforts, and promote crime prevention programs. Funds are provided to non-profit organizations for victim services, court-appointed child advocate, sexual abuse, and safe housing and counseling in these fields.
Rio Grande Council of Governments
RGCOG serves as the administrative entity and public involvement coordinator for the Far West Texas Water Planning Group, a citizen body tasked with developing a 50-year regional water resources management plan under Texas Senate Bill 1 (75th Legislative Session). This project, funded by the Texas Water Development Board and by contributions from local government entities and water supply districts, has enabled our region to prepare a legislatively mandated regional water plan for a seven-county planning region in West Texas.
The RGCOG’s role in the regional water planning process has three broad aspects: (1) providing administrative support for the Far West Texas Water Planning Group; (2) providing fiscal management of Texas Water Development Board funds which have been passed through to technical consultants to the Planning Group; and (3) developing and implementing a comprehensive public involvement strategy to maximize local input and buy-in to the planning process. The RGCOG therefore acts as fiscal agent and project manager for the regional planning effort.
West Central Texas Council of Governments
WCTCOG has grant funds available each year for local municipal and county governments, special districts and school districts for recycling, waste-reduction projects and local environmental enforcement programs. The grants are to be used to foster projects designed to reduce the waste stream into local landfills, must provide for cooperation between public and private entities (wherever possible) and may not create a competitive disadvantage over private industry. Since 1996 WCTCOG has helped fund over $1.3 million in solid waste reduction projects.
These are but a few examples of services offered to counties by their regional council of governments (COGs). Each of Texas’ 254 counties belong to one of the state’s 24 regional councils, created in Texas under the Regional Planning Act of 1965, along with city and other local governments, such as school districts or water districts.
COGs are funded by local, state and federal monies. Local funding comes from member dues, in-kind contributions, and other miscellaneous revenue. State and federal funds usually come in the form of grants that go straight to the regional councils or as “pass-through” funds from the federal government that are administered by a state agency.
The organizational structures of the councils vary, as well as the names, with each having its own bylaws or articles of agreement. COGs are governed by a general assembly or board of directors. Each COG has a professional staff to carry out the directives of its policy-making body.
While councils of government coordinate a number of common programs statewide, each is allowed to design programs to meet specific local and regional needs.
H.T. Wright, Caldwell County judge, said COGs are an extension of county government.
“COG staff provides talents and expertise in areas we aren’t familiar with,” Wright said.
More than 2,000 local governments participate in Texas’ 24 regional councils of governments including:
256 Counties (including two counties in bordering states)
390 School Districts
228 Special Districts
147 Other Governmental Entities
Meeting Regional Needs
“The 24 regional councils in Texas are remarkably diverse in terms of the programs and services they provide for their member governments, reflecting the diversity of needs and priorities found throughout the state,” said Penny Redington, executive director of the Texas Association of Regional Councils. “This diversity enables them to deal with problems and planning needs that cross the boundaries of individual local governments. A unique aspect of regional councils is their ability to serve as comprehensive regional organizations and also as special-purpose agencies, such as economic development districts or area agencies on aging.”
COGs benefit their member counties in a variety of ways including the organization of cooperative projects among local governments to save tax dollars; the provision of technical assistance in areas such as economic development; and the coordination of projects that cross the boundaries of individual local governments.
“Regional councils often assist local member governments in a cost-effective manner with management and technical expertise in a number of areas, resulting in expanded capabilities for member governments without the cost of additional staff,” Redington said. Specific examples of such services include:
planning and community development
joint data and computer services
cooperative purchasing (see related story, page ?)
training programs for local officials and law enforcement officers
preparation of grant applications
“The list of regional programs is ever-expanding and limited only by regional needs and creativity,” Redington said.
For example, the North Central Texas Council of Governments administers a variety of programs including one called “yoUR GIS” (Urban & Regional GIS), a GIS consulting service which assists member governments with development of their own GIS and base data. Beginning in 1997, NCTCOG was contracted by Dallas County Elections to assist with voting precinct redistricting. Since then, NCTCOG has assisted local governments including:
Town of Addison