Councils of Governments are invaluable resources within our communities. Each COG offers unique solutions to regional issues and can be a resource for job training, aging resources, access to capital, housing improvements, and government assistance towards community and economic development.
COG assistance is critical to citizens receiving the benefit of grants designed to enhance community development. The COGs and the South Carolina Department of Commerce have had a long-standing relationship relating to the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. At the local level, the COGs help with project and application development, ranking and grant administration. This is an especially useful service for smaller communities that do not have the internal capacity to prepare applications and administer grants.
The COGs also have assisted the South Carolina Department of Commerce with statewide water and sewer mapping and providing databases on industrial sites and buildings and quality of life attributes.
SC COGs play a vital role in ensuring that our workforce, our small business leaders and manufacturers, and our communities have the tools, training and financial support needed to become and remain economically competitive. We work with local governments to develop and implement strategies that will result in the creation of jobs and capital investment. COGs routinely utilize the financial resources of the Economic Development Administration to improve basic infrastructure to accommodate the needs of new or expanding industry.
Local & Regional Planning
SC COGs assist city and county governments in meeting statutory planning requirements for their jurisdictions, and in filling gaps within staffing and management of services. SC COGs may work with local governments to complete comprehensive plans, update zoning ordinances, complete capital improvement plans, and assist with planning-related services.
SC COGs play a vital role in ensuring that our workforce, our small business leaders and manufacturers, and our communities have the tools, training and financial support needed to become and remain economically competitive. We offer comprehensive services designed to increase employment, retain jobs, and develop occupational skills for unemployed and underemployed South Carolinians of all ages and backgrounds.
Each of the 10 COGs engages in transportation planning at some level. All manage rural transportation planning and four of the 10 serve as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for urban transportation planning within their region. Working with transportation policy committees, COG Boards recommend and prioritize transportation projects in coordination with the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT).
COGs are a valued partner to SCDOT, writing long-range transportation plans for each region, providing feedback and input regarding transportation and transit priorities.
Serving our Aging Population
Seven of the 10 SC COGs are designated as their region’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA), working with the South Carolina Department on Aging to deliver services like home-delivered and congregate meals, in-home care, transportation, health promotion and medicare counseling, legal services and advocacy with long-term care providers, and a valuable network of care for some of South Carolina’s most vulnerable population.
Many South Carolina businesses benefit from COG Revolving Loan Funds which provide money for business expansion and new job creation. Many COGs also facilitate small business lending through one or more additional loan programs sponsored by the Small Business Administration or other federal or state agencies. These programs represent an important source of capital. Generally, these loans are made in partnership with banks and other private lenders when conventional loan terms may undermine the feasibility of the project.
Grant Administration & Development
State and federal grants obtained through COGs are used for a range of critical needs – infrastructure, community revitalization, downtown development, housing construction and rehabilitation, public safety, recreation, social services, education, historic preservation, energy conservation and environmental protection.
As facilitators, the COGs help develop projects, prepare applications, act as advocates, serve as liaisons with funding agencies and often administer the project funds after grants are awarded.
Data & Mapping
SC COGs routinely provide Census and statistical data to agencies, organizations and individuals within their regions and beyond. In addition, most COGs maintain a Geographic Information System (GIS) that offers computer mapping services, data research, and analysis to help guide local land use policies for cities and counties. GIS mapping can give local governments insight into what their area will look like if present growth trends continue – a key component in planning for the future.
Six of the SC COGs are charged by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) with creating and maintaining regional water quality management plans. As such, the COGs review all applications requesting sewer discharge permits. These reviews, done to ensure compliance with the regional water quality plan, are necessary before DHEC will issue permits for new or expanded business, industry or residential development.