|San Jacinto News Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
DETCOG testifies on county affairs
JASPER – Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) President Mark Allen, Vice President Wes Suiter and DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles recently testified before the Texas House Committee on County Affairs. The committee has jurisdiction over all matters concerning the regional councils of governments in Texas. Their testimony began with the state's creation of the 24 planning regions (Councils of Government) in 1965. Judge Suiter stated, "We provide an open forum for the exchange of information and ideas related to regional planning and development. All 24 Councils of Governments in the state of Texas are voluntary instruments that enable local governments to determine public policy and provide essential services—and to achieve together what a single entity may not be able to accomplish alone. Regional councils encourage their local government members to cooperate to improve the health, safety, and general welfare of citizens and plan for the future development of their communities." After talking about the councils of government (COG) background, the DETCOG Officers moved on to presenting information about COG's structure, oversight and accountability. After telling the committee members which COG are in their districts presentation was closed by saying that COG's were in the business of helping government better respond to the needs of people in their regions. DETCOG Executive Director Walter G. Diggles, Sr., followed the presentation by expressing his appreciation to the two DETCOG leaders who were chosen to represent the 24 state of Texas COGS before the House County Affairs Committee in Austin during the 83rd Legislative Session. Committee Chairman Garnet Coleman of Houston complemented the DETCOG members on the fine work they do for the people of Texas. With so many new members of the Texas House, almost one third of its members are serving their first session, the Texas Association of Regional Councils (TARC) is working to make sure they all are familiar with the councils and the work they do. Several members of the Texas House County Affairs Committee are either in their first or second term in the house. While in Austin Judge Allen, who is the board member from Jasper on the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, attended the annual meeting of the group held in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation Annual Forum. This Coalition supports the improvements to US Highway 96 from El Paso to Fort Polk in Leesville, Louisiana. A study has been funded by TXDOT of the feasibility of the project.