Who We Are
The Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments is quite often referred to by its acronym, “the COG”. Santee-Lynches is one of ten (10) regional, sub-state districts authorized in the State and which make up the South Carolina Association of Regional Councils (SCARC). Regional Councils are voluntary associations of local governments formed in accordance with State law to provide a structured method of intergovernmental coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on a multi-jurisdictional level. Santee-Lynches, which was established in 1971, serves the counties and cities of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter. The region has a population of approximately 223,344 according to the 2010 Census and that includes twelve (12) incorporated communities. The four (4) counties encompass some 2,500 square miles.
Regional Councils provide a diversity of services requested by their local governments including: grant resource identification and administration; local and regional planning; economic development assistance; workforce training and development; assistance for the aging; affordable housing; community development; water and sewer development; transportation; public safety; and inter-governmental management assistance, to name just a few. Regional Councils do not pass legislation, enforce laws, or levy taxes. Their purpose is to work with local governments and public agencies to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. COGs are a means of bringing the public and private sector leaders of a region together to determine needs, to set priorities, to develop alternative solutions to common problems, and to capitalize on mutually beneficial opportunities.
Santee-Lynches is governed by a Board of Directors composed of twenty-nine (29) representatives of member municipal and county local governments and area legislative delegations that set the Council’s annual work program and budget. Eligible local governments in the region appoint representatives to the Board. By state law, a majority of the representatives must be local elected officials. Legislative delegations select their representatives. While regional councils are defined as political subdivisions of the State, they do not have the powers or authority that the cities and counties possess. Public policy by regional councils is advisory only and not binding on member local governments until it is acted on individually by the respective bodies.
Santee-Lynches, like its statewide counterparts, continually seeks to foster the greater understanding of regional issues and opportunities. The COG endeavors to facilitate mutual effort and consensus among its member municipalities and counties in addressing the many challenges that lie ahead for State and local municipalities in the coming years.