The Mountain Council of Governments was formed in 1991 to offer local government bodies a way to work together to achieve goals and complete projects they otherwise could not have done alone. The sum of our parts is stronger than any one of us working alone.
Becoming one with us allows our citizens' tax dollars to go further and our governing effectiveness to reach more people.
As local governments look to the future, the changes they confront will require a re-thinking of how public services are provided. Most of the major problems facing local governments will be regional in nature.
Environmental: water, air pollution, noise, effective land use.
Social problems: drugs, crime, homelessness, overcrowded schools, language problems
Economic relationships: studies show that urban and suburban economies are interrelated and interdependent.
Infrastructure: our municipal infrastructures are not getting any younger.
Financial: How do municipalities pay for big ticket items?
The Mountain Council of Governments: A Synopsis of the Organization
The Mountain Council of Governments is a voluntary organization of local governments fostering an intergovernmental cooperative atmosphere for the discussion of common problems and the formulation of plans to bring about their successful resolution.
Currently the Mountain Council of Governments consists of 3 cities, 9 townships, 8 boroughs, 2 school districts, and 3 authorities and two other adjunct organizations (The Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce.) MCOG remains financially operable by virtue of a yearly Community Revitalization Grant from DCED, a stipend from Luzerne County and generous assistance from the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce. its day-to-day activities are conducted by a part-time Executive Director.
The organization participates in joint projects for the benefit of their members and their members' constituents. Some of our projects include: a Gateway sign and beautification project which placed welcome signage at the entrance to participating municipalities free of charge (financed through a state grant), a Rails to Trails project undertaken with Civic Partnership to convert 16 miles of unused rail bed to hiking and biking trai|s(financed through a variety of grant sources), the joint purchase of a sewer camera worth $80,000(half of which was covered by a DCED grant), joint purchase of a tar kettle/crack sealer worth $50,000(ha|f of which was covered by a DCED grant),a joint abandoned vehicle and junk car project, a joint UCC code enforcement project, joint salt bidding(8-10 participants annually), an ongoing regional police study(4 of the larger members), joint rental of a multi-purpose street sweeper, a compost facility study; to name just a few of the more recent endeavors.
Our monthly forum has also led to joint participation by member organizations in a number of different public works projects. In these projects the participating municipalities lend equipment and manpower to a COG member to help in the completion of a public works endeavor. Members have saved p to 50% of the cost compared to using an outside contractor. Of course the members reciprocate when others need their help. Equipment sharing has also become very common among the membership.
MCOG also invites speakers to address the group on areas of common interest. Some of the more recent speakers have dealt with grant writing, energy savings(members were able to save $125,000 annually by joining an energy pool organized through the Chamber of Commerce and MCOG), wholesale purchasing of supplies, GIS mapping, municipal insurance options, municipal equipment purchase and rental options, to name a few.
MCOG is also an active member of the PACOG with its President recently served as the President of that organization from 2009-10.
How can MCOG Help?
By providing a political mechanism capable of addressing regional issues that local governments face.
By building on the collective strengths of municipalities MCOG can coordinate and direct public resources.
A COG can lower the costs of government by eliminating the duplication of services.
MCOG can enhance municipal flexibility.
MCOG can improve the quality and at times the quantity of services.
MCOG can provide a collective revenue base.
MCOG can help you afford equipment you couldn't purchase on your own.
So Whats Stopping Us?
One of the biggest problems we face is our reluctance to give up some of our individual power to a collective source (better known as provincialism.) Politicians do not want to give up their power and municipalities do not want to lose their identity.
That is not going to happen. The Mountain Council of Governments was created in March of 1991 to address the issues that we all face in what is now the 21st Century. Its purpose is apolitical in nature. MCOG wants to help all of our regional municipalities succeed. We want to give our collective taxpayers "the best bang for their buck!"
The potential of joining a COG is often underestimated. People don't know about us or realize the potential they can achieve by joining MCOG.
Finances are a problem we face at MCOG. Fortunately we have been self-sufficient through the procurement of grants from the county and state, and help from the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce.
Membership is FREE!!!
MCOG has grown from an organization of five municipalities in 1991 to 18 members which include: two cities, seven townships, six boroughs, two school districts and one authority.
Some of our projects and accomplishments include:
Providing a neutral monthly forum for the discussion of common problems.
Providing Grant Writing assistance
Government seminars and Guest speakers to inform members of grant availability and new regional initiatives
Regional police feasibility study
Joint bidding for winter road supplies
Rails to Trails
Gateway signs and beautification project
Shared equipment purchase of a sewer camera
BOCA Code study
Abandoned vehicle project
MCOG Activities 2005-2010
Street Sweeper Rental
Tar Kettle/Crack Sealer
Sewer Camera $38,600
Tar Kettle $24,500
State DCED $20,000
Luzerne County $25,000
PA Joint Purchasing Council
Pooled health Insurance
Municipal Health Insurance
Brownfields & Blighted Communities
PA Economy League Services
NEPA Alliance services
Splitting storm and sewer lines
Janitorial Supplies ZEP
PA Munic. Planning and Ed Institute
Bank Lending to Municipalities
On Demand Energy Solutions
PA Payroll Workman's Comp
Gangs in Hazleton Area
Unique Paving Materials
Joe Yannuzzi chosen President of PACOG
Regular attendance at PACOG Convention
Active presence in Hazleton Area affairs
Forum for the exchange of ideas among local government officials
A downloadable brochure is available by clicking on the link to the right.
This brochure can be printed out and distributed by anyone who would like to further the