The Coastal Bend Council of Governments (CBCOG), one of 24 regional Council Of Governments serving the State of Texas which were authorized by the Texas Regional Planning Act of 1965, celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Friday, April 1, with a reception from at the Corpus Christi Police Officers Association Hall located at 3122 Leopard Street.
The celebration featured a performance by the Miller High School Jazz Band under the direction of Director Richard Blaylock. Miller High School and the CBCOG have been neighbors on Leopard Street throughout the history of the CBCOG. State and local elected officials from the 11 county region made presentations and read proclamations honoring the CBCOG for its 50 years of service. The program also included memorials to the late Nueces County Clerk Oscar Soliz and the late Bill Hennings, former Corpus Christi City Manager, who served for many decades on the CBCOG Board. The 50th Anniversary reception was sponsored by the CBCOG, the City of Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi Police Officers Association.
The CBCOG was officially established on March 23, 1966, when six contiguous counties (Brooks, Duval, Kleberg, Jim Wells, Nueces and San Patricio) adopted an inter-county agreement formulating a regional planning commission/council of governments. Aransas, Live Oak, McMullen, Refugio, and Bee Counties adopted the original agreement in November 1966 resulting in an eleven county region. In May 1967, Kenedy County adopted the agreement and became a member of the Coastal Bend Regional Planning Commission. In November 1966 the City of Corpus Christi joined the CBCOG and the city of Portland joined in December 1966. Kingsville joined in February 1967. Beginning in March 1967, other cities within the region began to join. In September 2013, Governor Rick Perry approved a request from McMullen County to move to the Alamo Area Council of Governments and now State Planning Region consists of 11 counties.
“The general purpose and duty of the COG is to make studies and plans to guide the unified, far reaching development of the region, to eliminate duplication and promote economy and efficiency in the coordinated development of the area,” said John Buckner, long-time Executive Director of the CBCOG.
The Coastal Bend Council of Governments was formed to provide a cost-effective way to plan, coordinate and implement regional projects and provide technical assistance within the region. The Coastal Bend Council of Governments is a designated Area Agency on Aging, an Economic Development District, a designated water quality management agency and provides regional solid waste management planning, coordination, and implementation of projects. The Coastal Bend Council of Governments also delivers Criminal Justice services, Emergency Communications (9-1-1) planning and implementation, and Department of Homeland Security services.
“The COG is blessed to be staffed by approximately 25 individuals, many of whom have devoted decades to the mission and goals of the Council of Governments,” said CBCOG Chairman Al Garcia, a city commissioner in Kingsville. “Four employees have a combined 175 years of experience. Another has worked there more than 30 years; three have been there more than 20 years and five have been there more than 10 years.”
The basic funding comes from local governments in the form of annual membership dues. The current dues structure amounts to about $105,000 (about three percent) of the total annual operating budget of $3.94 million. The CBCOG passes through each year about $2 million mainly for the Older Americans Act programs. The overall budget is about $6 million – a far cry from the original $365,000 CBCOG budget in 1969.