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The Texas Association of Regional Councils (TARC) was organized in 1973 by interlocal agreement among Texas' 24 regional councils of governments. The statewide association assists the regional councils in strengthening their capabilities to serve their local government members; provides a forum for the regular exchange of information and ideas; educates other governmental entities, public and private organizations, and the general public about the services and functions of regional councils; and represents the councils before both state and federal agencies and legislative bodies. Each of the regional councils pays membership dues to participate
Regional councils, or councils of governments (COGs) are voluntary associations of local governments formed under Texas law. These associations deal with the problems and planning needs that cross the boundaries of individual local governments or that require regional attention.
Regional services offered by councils of governments are varied. Services are undertaken in cooperation with member governments, the private sector, and state and federal partners, and include but are not limited to the following: •planning and implementing regional homeland security strategies; •operating law enforcement training academies; •promoting regional municipal solid waste and environmental quality planning; •providing cooperative purchasing options for governments; •managing region-wide services to the elderly; •maintaining and improving regional 9-1-1 systems; •promoting regional economic development; •operating specialized transit systems; and •providing management services for member governments
In addition, Texas’ regional councils of governments are responsible for regional planning activities that may differ from region to region, but typically include planning for economic growth, water supply and water quality, air quality, transportation, emergency preparedness, and the coordinated delivery of various social services. Many councils of governments establish and host region-wide geographical information systems (GIS) as well as databases on regional population, economic, and land-use patterns.