The Benton-Franklin Governmental Conference was established as a voluntary association of the units of local government in the two-county region in 1966. The official name was changed to Benton-Franklin Regional Council (BFRC) in May 1991 and to the Benton-Franklin Council of Governments (BFCG) in 1998. The Benton-Franklin Council of Governments is structured under state law as a regional planning commission (RCW 36.70.060), a council of governments (RCW 36.64.080), and a Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) (RCW 47.80.020).
The BFCG is also federally designated as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)/Transportation Management Area (TMA) for the Tri-City Metropolitan Area and the Economic Development District (EDD) for Benton and Franklin Counties.
As is the case elsewhere across the country, the problems facing this region’s local communities cannot be effectively solved within a single city or county. Such problems require cooperative action by all local governments within a region. The function of the BFCG is to facilitate a cooperative approach to regional problem solving.
What do we do?
- Provides a regional forum and planning entity for the development of jurisdictional programs and decision-making,
- Designated as the Economic Development District (EDD) for the Benton and Franklin counties,
- Designated as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)/Transportation Management Area (TMA) for Tri-City metropolitan area,
- Serves as the Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) for Benton and Franklin counties,
- Provides a lead agency capability for the provision of multi-jurisdictional programs.
As a regional council of governments, the BFCG provides a forum for regional governmental cooperation; it initiates programs of a regional nature; and provides review and coordination for local applications for state and federal financial assistance.
As a regional planning agency, the BFCG provides a planning capability to address regional problems; it serves as a regional coordinating body for public agencies; and provides a regional planning framework within which local physical and social plans can be developed.
As a “lead agency” (utilizing the Interlocal Cooperation Act), the BFCG can serve as the implementing agency of virtually any multi-jurisdictional public program or service.
The financial support for these endeavors comes through annual contributions by member agencies, charges for services, and specific, project-oriented federal and state grants.
While the concept of councils of government is over forty years old, such organizations did not become prevalent until the federal government offered grant-in-aid incentives for metropolitan area planning. With the increasing multi-jurisdictional complexity of local government, councils of government across the country have seen significant increases in responsibility and a shift to greater regional decision-making. Nationally, there are over 670 COG’s or regional councils. Most of the 361 “metropolitan areas,” such as Benton-Franklin counties, have established councils, and most non-metropolitan areas have similar organizations. Of the 39,000 local general-purpose governments in the United States (counties, cities, towns, villages, boroughs), approximately 35,000 are served by regional councils.
Benton-Franklin Council of Governments is able to provide a wide range of services and programs upon request. The programs and activities adopted in the present Work Program include:
- Regional Community Development Planning
- Transportation Planning
- Technical Assistance and Interlocal Services
- Program Evaluation Review and Comment
- Economic Development District
- A seat at the table and a voice in key regional decisions
- Opportunities to resolve growth, economic development, and transportation issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries
- Information and technical assistance for obtaining federal and state transportation funds
- Workshops, training, and other educational opportunities to learn about important issues for local jurisdictions
- Employment, population and travel data needed to meet special requirements of the Growth Management Act and other laws, and for day-to-day planning needs
- Free standard and secondary data products and working data sets; large custom requests at a discount
- Access to an extensive range of technical expertise in areas such as transit and transportation planning, economics and economic development, growth management, demographics and use of geographic information systems
- Highest priority when requesting data and information
For more information contact our office at (509) 943-9185.