Established by a local initiative in1968, the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) aims to identify and address common regional issues, opportunities, and challenges of northeast Alabama’s municipalities and counties. Local governments recognized that in order to address issues and concerns facing the region adequately and comprehensively, they must work together in a collaborative manner.
A year after TARCOG was established, the Alabama legislature approved the creation of regional development commissions and TARCOG was designated as Substate Planning District twelve. TARCOG later was designated as the region’s Area Agency on Aging. TARCOG brings together municipal, county, and state governments, and federal agencies to work as a single team that is focused solely on improving the region.
The governments of five northeast Alabama counties, DeKalb, Jackson, Limestone, Madison, and Marshall, and the municipalities located in those counties make up TARCOG. The council’s membership is made up of representatives from the counties and municipalities. The representatives are primarily elected officials, but approximately 35% are private citizens or community leaders. These members insure representation for minority groups, businesses, and private interests. Thirty members are selected to serve as the Board of Directors. The Board is represented by an executive committee composed of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and the immediate past president; the members elect these positions.
The Board employs an executive director and a staff of approximately 40. An additional 106 senior workers are assigned to member governments and not-for-profit organizations throughout the five county region.
Contributions from local governments help fund TARCOG. The Council uses those contributions to secure federal and state assistance. Primary federal funding comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Economic Development Administration (EDA). Additional funding comes from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS). On average, TARCOG obtains more than $20 in federal and state grants and loans for the region for every $1 contributed by the member governments.
Owens Cross Roads