Southwest Georgia Regional Commission consists of the 14 counties and the 43 cities located in Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth Counties. Total estimated population in 2017 was approximately 348,300 and covers over 8,000 square miles.
The Southwest Georgia Regional Commission (RC), as was its predecessors, the APDC (Area Planning and Development Commission), and the Regional Development Center (RDC), is an extension of local governments and to some extent, the local development groups in the respective communities. The RC’s sole purpose is to assist and complement local jurisdictions by responding to their needs and assist in accomplishing goals in and for the communities. The RC is advisory in nature in that it has no official powers. It can only provide recommendations and assistance of various types, which can be accepted or rejected by the individual community.
The Regional Council, the Governing body of the Regional Commission consists of members representing each of the 14 counties (one appointed member of county government) and 43 cities (one representative per county of all the cities in a county) and the non-public member, (at least one private sector representative per county). In addition, the Governor appoints three members, all from the private sector and one of which will be a school board member, the Lieutenant Governor appoints one member from the private sector, and the Speaker of the House appoints one member to the Council for a total of 53 members. The local governments have the ultimate authority for operating the RC.
The RC must be responsive to the Council and local governments in terms of types of services provided. The Regional Work Program was recently reviewed by the Council of the RC, and RC Committees help to evaluate and ascertain which programs are appropriate, effective, needed and desirable, so limited resources can be channeled in the best direction. Available resources must also be considered with any budget, need or desire of the Council, the local governments and the staff. Programs must also make a worthwhile contribution of value to the administration of local governments, economy, or social welfare of Southwest Georgia.