Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Regional Commission (RC)?
A Regional Commission is a quasi-governmental regional planning organization created and managed under Georgia law for the benefit of member local governments. Georgia's RCs perform many functions, but essentially develop, promote, and provide comprehensive planning and development services that seek to make Georgia and its many communities better places to live and work. We provide professional technical assistance to state and federal agencies as well as to local governments to advance quality growth and development.
How were Regional Commissions created?
The State of Georgia allowed local governments to voluntarily join together and assess themselves local dues for hiring of professional staff for their mutual benefit. These new groups were called Area Planning and Development Commissions (APDCs). The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 reconstituted the APDCs as Regional Development Centers (RDCs). The Planning Act of 1989 gave RDCs the responsibility for developing, promoting and assisting in the establishment of coordinated and comprehensive planning in the state. RDCs underwent yet another transition in 2009 as a result of House Bill 1216, when they became Regional Commissions.
Do Regional Commissions constitute a separate layer of government?
No, RCs serve their local governments. They depend on variety of funding sources and have no taxing, legislative, or regulatory authority.
How are Regional Commissions funded?
RCs are funded by per-capita dues from member local governments, state and federal funds, grants, and special project fees.
Who determines the Regional Commission's program of work?
Member local governments drive the RC's programs but the RC is mandated to carry out certain functions in order to receive federal and state funds. Local governments determine the final program of work by approving a slate of projects and programs that include locally requested projects as well as state and federal programs. The Annual Work Program is adopted by the RC’s Regional Council in concert with the annual budget.
What types of contracts do RCs receive and with what types of agencies?
A primary function of the RCs is to create partnerships with state and federal agencies for funds that benefit the member local governments. The following are a few examples of some existing partnerships:
- Georgia Department of Community Affairs - Planning
- Georgia Department of Human Resources - Workforce Investment, Census Studies
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Historic Preservation
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division - Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plans
- Georgia Department of Transportation - Planning, Transit Programs
- Economic Development Administration - Economic Development Strategies
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Local Security
- Federal Emergency Management Agency - Hazard Mitigation
Do other states have Regional Commissions?
Yes, according to the National Association of Development Organizations, there are more than 500 regional planning and development organizations operating under a variety of names in 47 states.