Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) is a voluntary association of county and municipal governments in a 5-county region in northwest Colorado that believes that working together on a regional basis provides benefits that could not be obtained alone. There are 14 regional governmental associations within Colorado. All are unique because each reflects the needs and desires of its membership. NWCCOG remains flexible in order to respond to the ever-changing challenges and opportunities of the region. The Council, made up of representatives from each member jurisdiction, directs the activities of NWCCOG. The NWCCOG staff is responsible for carrying out the Council’s direction.
The purpose of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments is to be responsive to our members’ needs and interests by providing guidance and assistance in problem solving, information sharing and partnership building, advocating members’ interests and needs with local, state and federal entities, and providing quality services to our membership that are relevant, effective, and efficient.
In its 38 years, NWCCOG has evolved into an organization that addresses a wide spectrum of issues and opportunities of interest to individual member jurisdictions and the region.
NWCCOG provides services to its members that are more cost-effective and efficient when executed on a regional basis, rather than being duplicated by each member jurisdiction.
For example, the NWCCOG Elevator Inspection Program ensures that member jurisdictions remain in compliance with building codes by employing certified elevator inspectors to work across jurisdictional boundaries, eliminating the need for individual jurisdictions to employ, train, and certify their own inspectors.
NWCCOG provides the “critical mass” necessary to take advantage of various federal programs.
Many federal programs have minimum population requirements necessary to enact the program. Through its combined membership, NWCCOG meets mandated population thresholds. This allows individual members to receive benefits they would otherwise be unable to receive. NWCCOG is the designated agency for several federal programs on behalf of its members including the Older Americans Act (Alpine Area Agency on Aging), the Clean Water Act (Regional 208 Water Quality Management Plan), the Energy Conservation and Production Act (weatherization of homes of low-income families), and the Homeland Security Act (Northwest All Hazards Emergency Management Region).
NWCCOG provides strength to individual member jurisdictions by speaking with a unified voice on regional issues.
For example, NWCCOG successfully developed a unified response to the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding transportation in the I-70 corridor. In addition, NWCCOG’s Water Quality and Quantity Committee (QQ) provides a unified voice to the state legislature regarding critical water issues.
NWCCOG provides a regional perspective to local, state, and federal policy makers.
NWCCOG gathers, analyzes, maintains, and distributes economic, demographic, and environmental data on a regional basis. Population, cost of living, housing, water quality, and transportation are but a few of the areas of data concerning regional issues.
NWCCOG promotes the concept of regional multi-jurisdictional cooperation for improved efficiencies and effectiveness between multiple governmental jurisdictions.
Seventy percent of land in the NWCCOG region is in federal ownership. NWCCOG successfully promoted the concept of cross-boundary cooperation, between federal, state, county, and municipal agencies, on issues such as river restoration, wildfire mitigation and forest health.
NWCCOG provides a regional forum for the purpose of facilitating communications between multiple governmental jurisdictions regarding issues and opportunities.
NWCCOG and its affiliated organizations are the only organizations within the region that provide a recurring forum for elected officials from both county and municipal governments, covering a 7,000-square-mile area. In addition, NWCCOG cooperates with other state and national regional organizations to expand the size of the forum.
NWCCOG provides custom designed services for individual member jurisdictions, effectively expanding the staff capabilities of those jurisdictions regarding specific needs.
NWCCOG makes its staff available to respond to specific requests for assistance from individual jurisdictions. NWCCOG also coordinates the acquisition of resources to assist individual members.
NWCCOG leverages members’ dues dollars into larger amounts of financial resources.
NWCCOG membership dues in 2014 comprised 6% of the budget. NWCCOG utilizes its member dues as matching funds to acquire public and private grants. In addition, NWCCOG staff provides in-kind matching resources to add to the financial resources. Leverage ratios for financial resources range from $1 to $164 for each dollar of member dues.
NWCCOG can be divided into four component parts:
Federal & State Long-Term Grant Programs Administrator
- Alpine Area Agency on Aging provides an array of senior adult services under the Older Americans and Older Coloradans Acts.
- Weatherization Program provides home energy-efficiency services to low-income Coloradans under the federal Energy Management and Conservation Act.
- Watershed Services develops and administers the regional water quality plan under the National Clean Water Act.
- Northwest All-Hazards Emergency Management Region provides coordination and fiscal services under the Homeland Security Act and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program.
- Elevator Inspection Program issues new permits and provides on-going safety inspections.
- Community Surveys gather statistically valid public opinion to provide insight on a variety of topics.
- Meetings Facilitation provides professional facilitation services to groups seeking to effectively meet desired outcomes.
- Geographic Information Services provides information mapping, analysis, and consulting.
- Research and Data Services gathers and organizes information pertinent to specific issues.
- NWCCOG serves as a State Data Center Affiliate, maintaining current demographic statistics for member jurisdictions.
- NWCCOG offers Grants Research and Writing assistance in locating and applying for private, state and federal grants.
- Health Insurance Pool offers group insurance to member jurisdictions.
- Technical Assistance Grants fund small projects for member jurisdictions.
- NWCCOG Water Quality and Quantity Committee provides legal and legislative services to headwaters jurisdictions.
- NWCCOG Foundation provides member jurisdictions use of an IRS 501(c)(3) public foundation to facilitate fundraising.
- Northwest Loan Fund provides small, low-interest loans for business expansions and start-ups to create and/or retain jobs.
- Rural Resort Region maintains an open membership to address regional issues.
- Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative addresses forest health issues related to the bark beetle.
- Federal Lands Management-NWCCOG addresses the burning regional issues faced by member jurisdictions. For the past several years, including 2009, NWCCOG has focused a great deal of effort on federal lands management , given the pine beetle epidemic ravaging the region’s forests. In this role, NWCCOG has strived to create and maintain multi-jurisdictional, cross-boundary collaboration for issues such as wildfire mitigation, forest health, and river restoration.
- Economic Development-The economic recession has greatly affected NWCCOG’s member jurisdictions because of the region’s dependence on tourism. The number one need that emerged from the 2009 Member Needs Survey is the need for economic development and diversification. To respond to this regional need, in 2009 NWCCOG has laid groundwork for the obtaining Economic Development District (EDD) status for the region. NWCCOG applied for a planning grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration. In 2010, work began to develope a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region as well as applying for EDD status. EDD status was granted in 2014 and NWCCOG’s member jurisdictions have access to capital for a variety of infrastructure and public works projects that will serve to bolster the economic strength and diversification of this region.