Bringing in the Special Teams - Iowa League of Cities
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Bringing in the Special Teams - Iowa League of Cities

What is a council of government? In 1988, Iowa’s regions formed the Iowa Associationof Regional Councils (IARC) to serve as thestatewide, professional association for Iowa’s 17COGs. IARC is a non-profit association focused onpromoting the work of Iowa’s COGs and expandingregional services across Iowa. Directors of Iowa’s COGs make up the IARC boardof directors which meets monthly

What does a COG do?Economic Development services Each COG operates a revolving loan fund toassist businesses that are creating or retainingjobs. Amounts available and loan terms vary fromregion to region Typically paired with private and state/federalfunding

What does a COG do?Economic Development services COGs work with state/federal agencies toidentify possible funding for economicdevelopment projects COGs can assist with applications tostate/federal funding agencies on behalf ofbusinesses Serve as a resource to regional businesses withspecific needs (i.e. Iowa Waste Reduction Center)

What does a COG do?Economic Development services COGs serve as federal economic developmentdistricts (EDDs) Charged with developing a regional comprehensiveeconomic development strategy (CEDS) District designation allows COGs to tap into federalfunding through the Economic DevelopmentAdministration for projects/initiatives

What does a COG do?Economic Development services Legislation passed last session changed TIFreporting requirements for local governments Reporting will be online and administered by theIowa Department of Management Iowa COGs will be available to assist membercities/counties with TIF reporting- plan to providethis as a new service

What does a COG do?Transportation related services Iowa DOT distributes federal funding on aregional basis through Iowa’s COGs COGs plan for and program the distribution offederal funds for projects within the region Projects include highways, bridges, trails andpublic transit

What does a COG do?Transportation related services Each region has its own transportation advisorycommittee facilitated through the COG to makefunding decisions for the region Each regional committee is unique and theallocation process used in each region varies

What does a COG do?Transportation related services Public transit is available in every county in Iowa Approximately half of Iowa’s COGs operate theregional transit system for their respective regions Regional transit services vary from county to countybased on need/ demand for services

What does a COG do?Workforce Development services Several of Iowa’s COGs serve as coordinatingservice providers for the region’s workforce services Administer Promise Jobs program and WorkforceInvestment Act (WIA) programs Work closely with Iowa Workforce Developmentstaff on program administration

What does a COG do?Grant writing/grant administration COG staff are available to prepare a wide varietyof grant applications on behalf of localgovernments COGs are very familiar with available fundingprograms, requirements and how to prepare asuccessful grant application COGs are an excellent resource for localgovernments looking to identify potential fundingsources for a project

What does a COG do? If grant funds are awarded, COGs are availableto handle grant administration Includes post award activities such as financialreports, progress reports, environmental reviewsand other activities State/federal grants carry considerablerequirements. COGs are experienced in ensuringcommunities meet those requirements.

What does a COG do?Housing development services Over the past 20 years, COGs have become heavilyinvolved in housing development and rehabilitationactivities Today, COGs administer a variety of programsincluding: Down payment assistance programs Owner occupied rehabilitation Rental rehabilitation Affordable housing new construction

What does a COG do? Funds for housing programs typically come fromstate and federal funding sources (i.e. CommunityDevelopment Block Grant funds, USDA RuralDevelopment) COGs may apply for funds on behalf of acommunity to conduct a housing program within thatspecific community. Other funds may be able to beused throughout the region

What does a COG do? Most COGs administer a local housing trust fund fortheir respective regions Trust Fund program is a state program that helpsfund local trust funds to meet area housing needs Each regional trust fund is unique and designed tomeet the specific housing needs of the region.Requirements and funding varies from COG toCOG.

What does a COG do?Disaster Recovery services The state called on COGs after 2008 and 2011flooding events COGs administered state programs within theirregions to assist communities, homeowners, andbusinesses impacted by flooding COGs worked with communities to prepare longterm recovery strategies

What does a COG do? COGs continue to provide disaster recoveryassistance, administering programs aimed atreplacing housing destroyed by flooding COGs continue to seek financial assistance forinfrastructure needs as a result of the floods COGs are heavily involved in preparing hazardmitigation plans for communities in an effort tooffset future damage

What does a COG do?Specialized services COGs are flexible and ever evolving to meetregional needs IARC and its members continue to look at ways toexpand COG services

What does a COG do? COGs have provided community health planningassistance to communities Broadband education and outreach in conjunctionwith Connect Iowa Several COGs have implemented nuisanceabatement programs. Cities may contract with theCOG to provide this service. Some COGs have served as zoning administratorsfor member communities

Benefits to COG membership COGs are a vehicle for promoting regionaldevelopment that improves all communities withina region. Provide a forum for working with state/federalagencies on a variety of regional issues- Strengthin numbers Opportunity to resolve growth, development andtransportation issues that cross jurisdictionalboundaries

Benefits to COG membership COGs are a “go to” resource for information onstate/federal funding and programming as wellas statistical data Provide local governments to tap into a variety ofresources (i.e. grant writing) at low to no cost

COG membership COG membership is voluntary. Due structures vary from region to region Some COGs establish membership throughindividual communities while others establishmembership through the counties (If a county is amember, all communities in the county are members) While rates vary, membership dues are on a percapitabasis (.40 to .87 per capita in 2011)

Final thoughts Visit IARC’s website at for aninteractive map and links to each of Iowa’s COGs. Please feel free to contact your COG directly withquestions on membership or services available. If you have a specific need or something that youwonder if a COG can assist with- Please ask! Weare always looking for ways to grow and expandservices to local governments

Questions?Thank you for your time today!Nichole

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