Eastern Plains Council of Governments helps with planning

By Gabriel Monte, Freedom New Mexico

The Eastern Plains Council of Governments is one of seven associations of counties that assist local governments in economic development and planning.

Members
The Eastern Plains Council of governments is made up of seven counties in eastern New Mexico and the local governments in those counties, the council helps with infrastructure planning and economic development.

Counties in the Eastern Plains Council of Governments include Union, Harding, Quay, Guadalupe, De Baca, Curry, and Roosevelt.

Dues
Member communities pay dues every year to the council of government’s assistance. The dues vary by population, according to Clovis Legislative and Community Development Director Claire Burroughes. The city of Clovis pays $7,502 in dues to the council while the city of Portales pays $2,577 in dues.

The Eastern Plains Council of Governments also receives state and federal appropriation, according to former EPCOG executive director Lee Tillman.

The organization’s budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year is about $6,325,000.

Tillman resigned from his post in July after 33 years with the organization. Deputy executive director Nick Brady took over for Tillman.

Services
According to Tillman, EPOCG assists its members with infrastructure planning, economic development, housing issues and workforce development.

EPCOG serves as the administrative entity for the Eastern New Mexico Workforce Board.

Burroughes said the council also points the city in the direction of grants that help pay for various projects such as the Industrial Park.

She said the council provides administrative support for communities that don’t have the staff to apply for grants and manage projects.

“They benefit smaller communities better,” she said.

Worth the dues
Clovis City Commission Isidro Garcia, who serves as the city’s representative on the EPCOG board of directors said he believes the city is getting its money’s worth in the dues it pays the council.

He said the council runs low income housing programs in the city and also assists low-income home owners with modifying their homes.

“We don’t do any of it,” he said of low-income housing projects. “I think that in itself justifies the dues we pay.”

He said the council is also researching grant funding for repairing the Hull Street overpass.