History of Kerr-Tar Regional COG
Councils of Governments were formed under the NC General Statutes 160-77.1 through 160-77.6 (current Statutes are: 160A-470 through 160A-478) which authorizes any two or more municipalities and counties to create a Regional Council of Local Officials. Under the leadership of Governor Bob Scott, seventeen (17) regions were designated throughout the State of NC. In late 1970, City and County officials banned together to explore forming a Council of Governments to serve Region K (counties of Franklin, Granville, Person, Vance and Warren and the 11 municipalities therein). Today the Kerr-Tar Region still consists of these 5 named counties and 16 municipalities; however, there are only 16 COGs across the state as some have combined.
Dr. W. M. Wester, Jr. served as the first Chairman of this Council during the organizational period. In May of 1971, the official name of the Council was selected: Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, with its purpose being to promote intergovernmental cooperation by developing and formalizing policy recommendations concerning matters having area wide significance. Areas of interest and concern to the members organizing the Council of Governments were: solid waste, health services, regional water system, family planning, programs for the elderly, and manpower. Today the COG has the following programs: Aging, Economic and Community Development, Economic Development Administration, Business Loans, Planning, Transportation,and Workforce Development. It also provides Administrative Services for the Region K CAC and Kerr-Tar Regional Economic Development Corporation.
On April 13, 1972, the Kerr-Tar Regional COG was designated the Lead Regional Organization of Region K, and received a $25,000 funding grant from the NC General Assembly.
The Council of Governments strived towards meeting criteria by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in order to be eligible for federal grants. After completing an acceptable Overall Economic Development Plan (OEDP), Region K was designated by EDA as an Economic Development District (EDD) in March of 1975, under the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965.
The Kerr-Tar COG established a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) in 1986, with its counties that were designated as Long Term Economic Deterioration (LTED) counties by EDA. The purpose of the RLF was to assist in raising the standards of living through sound economic development policies, and use of innovative and creative business financing. Strict objectives were established to accomplish the goals; which included reducing unemployment, creating and retaining job opportunities, increase the area’s tax base, re-develop vacant land, stimulate private sector capital formation and aid in small business development, etc. Then in 1987, EDA sent a formal invitation to the Kerr-Tar COG to submit an application to EDA for a revolving loan fund grant under the Long Term Economic Deterioration (LTED) Section of Title IX. The proposed grant project was for $500,000 in EDA funds that would be matched with $167,000 in local funds. As of today, the COG still runs two successful loan programs: the RLF Program which provides funding from $25,000 to $200,000 or 75% of project cost, whichever is less and a Micro-Enterprise Loan Program that offers funding from $5,000 to $25,000 for small businesses.
Membership in the Council of Governments of Member Units is accomplished by the voluntary adoption of identical resolutions of the governing bodies of the participating governmental units.
The COG is:
• Local agency, owned, controlled and operated by groups of cities and counties…but no more responsible to one participating local government than to another.
• Servant and advocate of Local Government.
The COG serves as an excellent linkage between local, state and federal governments.
The COG is not:
• A Federal Agency
• A State Agency
• A Third Level of Government
General Functions of the COG:
• Disseminate information of concern.
• Serve as forum for discussion of governmental problems of mutual interest and concern.
• Deal with regional problems in a manner mutually satisfactory to all local governments within the Region.
• Provide technical staff services as needed by member cities and counties.
• Serve as a common ground upon which local officials of an area can meet, evaluate common problems and opportunities for cooperative agreements, and coordinate mutual activities, plans and programs.
• Plan and coordinate as an extended arm of local member units.