The Council of Governments is a Federally designated Economic Development District by the US Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA). As a result, the Council receives planning grant assistance from the EDA on an annual basis. The Council is charged with the responsibility of providing technical assistance to member cities and counties as well as supporting economic development efforts throughout the region.
As an Economic Development District, the Council is also responsible for developing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) once every five years. Updates to the document are made on an annual basis. The CEDS provides a snapshot of the economic conditions in the region and develops a roadmap intended to diversify and strengthen the region’s overall economy. The CEDS also serves as a guide for establishing regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a regional plan of action and identifying investment priorities and potential funding sources.
Ultimately, the document is intended to guide the region’s economic growth by fostering a stable and expanding economy, assist with the creation of jobs and improve the overall quality of life for the residents in the region. The development of the CEDS is overseen by a committee representing both the public and private sectors.
The downturn in the economy over the past several years has presented numerous economic challenges to the region. Cities and counties have experienced tremendous losses in tax revenues, reductions in assessed valuations and foreclosures on what were once viewed as viable properties. As the region suffered from substantial job losses, the Council continues to work closely with local units of government, as well as businesses in an effort to revitalize the region’s economy.
Staff of the Council is extremely familiar with State and Federal programs available to assist in the creation of new jobs and spark economic growth within the region. The COG also collaborates with local economic development organizations throughout the region.