Councils of governments in Connecticut Article

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Councils of governments in Connecticut are organizations that bring together the chief elected officials and/or professional managers from member municipalities in Connecticut. The bodies are meant to aid coordination among neighboring cities and towns, and between the towns and the state government, on issue including land use, zoning, and transportation. They serve some functions analogous to county governments in other states, but have no independent taxing authority (Connecticut disbanded county governments in the late 1950's). They also host some intermunicipal services based on the needs and voluntary participation of member or client municipalities. Councils, or COGs, receive funding through membership dues, state grants, and federal grants. Connecticut state law permits Councils of Government to apply for any grant money offered to county governments or their equivalents.

As of 2018, Connecticut has 9 regional councils following a series of mergers and realignments between 2013-2015. Populations are from the 2010 census. [1] For current membership, see: List of towns in Connecticut. Some COGs also serve as either federal metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), rural planning organizations (RPO), or share staff with one or more MPOs/RPOs within their borders; the Western Connecticut COG, for example, supports both the Housatonic Valley MPO and the South Western CT MPO.

Population (2010) Council of governments (COG) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) [2]
973,959 Capitol Region (Same)
318,004 CT Metropolitan Greater Bridgeport and Valley MPO
175,685 Lower CT River Valley (Same)
448,738 Naugatuck Valley Central Naugatuck MPO
96,617 Northeastern CT (Same/Rural Planning Region)
115,247 Northwest Hills (Same/Rural Planning Region)
570,001 South Central CT (Same)
286,711 Southeastern CT (Same)
589,135 Western CT South Western CT MPO &
Housatonic Valley MPO


The dissolution of county governments in 1960 created an absence of a regionally-oriented governmental level, which created problems when it came to land use and infrastructure planning. Because the power once reserved for county governments was now in the hands of municipal administrations, major land use, environmental, and infrastructure issues often pitted one town against another, sometimes resulting in little or no progress on some projects. Complicating this, the state constitution delegates a large portion of the state's authority to the towns. That means a major multi-town project could be completely derailed if only one of the affected towns opposes the project, since the project would require each affected town to issue its own permits for the portions within its territory. This has often led to long and costly lawsuits between towns that support a regional-scale project and those opposed.

In an effort to resolve these conflicts, the State of Connecticut passed legislation in the 1980s establishing fifteen regional councils, which cluster towns with similar demographics into an administrative planning region, instead of adhering to the old county structure. In 2013, the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management approved a merger of the Connecticut River Estuary and the Midstate planning regions to form the Lower Connecticut River Valley Planning Region. [3] See sidebar for prior region alignment.

In 2014 The Office of Policy and Management (OPM) recently completed a comprehensive analysis of the boundaries of logical planning regions in Connecticut under Section 16a-4c of the Connecticut General Statutes (2014 Supplement). This analysis resulted in the number of planning regions being reduced from the original fifteen (15) to nine (9), as a result of four (4) voluntary consolidations and the elimination of two (2) planning regions. As required by statute, the OPM notified the chief executive officer (CEO) in each municipality that was proposed for redesignation and offered them a thirty (30) day period to appeal the proposed redesignation. Of the seventeen municipalities that were proposed for redesignation by OPM, only three opted to exercise their right to appeal. OPM staff attended meetings in Bristol, Burlington and Plymouth, and subsequently granted each of the appeals.

Unlike county governments, the authority of regional councils is limited to land use policymaking, infrastructure development, emergency preparedness, and long-term planning for population and economic changes for the communities within their respective jurisdiction. The regional councils have no taxing authority; they are financed by funds from the state and member towns.

Regional councils also have some limited law enforcement authority. If approved by the regional council, member towns can put forth a portion of their law enforcement resources to create regional task forces to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. With assistance from the Connecticut State Police and FBI, several regions have established such task forces. The Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force, Bridgeport Violent Crimes Task Force, and New Haven Safe Streets Gang Task Force are such examples. [4] Individual law enforcement agencies contributing their resources toward these regional task forces retain their original identities, rather than assuming the identity of the regional task force.

Connecticut’s planning regions provide a geographic framework within which municipalities can jointly address common interests, and coordinate such interests with state plans and programs. State statutes authorize the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to designate or redesignate the boundaries of logical planning regions, whereas the member municipalities of each planning region are authorized under separate state statutes to establish a formal governance structure known as a regional council of governments (RCOG).

Several similar regional agencies exist, including federally designated metropolitan planning organizations. These include several dual purpose agencies or continuing organizations that were once designated state regional planning agencies. [5] Several may be consolidated in the future. [6]

Defunct regions

Regional Council of Governments of Connecticut as of 2013

These regional planning agencies existed prior to the realignment beginning in 2013:

  1. Capitol Region Council of Governments [7] (Hartford area)
  2. Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency [8] ( Bristol-New Britain area)
  3. Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency [9] (Old Saybrook area)
  4. Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley [10] (Waterbury area)
  5. Greater Bridgeport Regional Council [11] (Bridgeport area)
  6. Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials [12] (Danbury area)
  7. Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials (Torrington area)
  8. Midstate Regional Planning Agency [9] (Middletown area)
  9. Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments [13] (Danielson area)
  10. Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments [3] ( Warren area)
  11. South Central Regional Council of Governments [14] (New Haven area)
  12. Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments [15] (Norwich-New London area)
  13. South Western Regional Planning Agency [16] (Stamford-Norwalk area)
  14. Valley Council of Governments [17] (Derby/Shelton area)
  15. Windham Region Council of Governments [18] ( Willimantic area)

Informal regions

Connecticut has a number of informal regions, that have no governmental unit associated with them, although may generally correspond to a regional planning agency or council of government boundary.

External links

  • "Official Website". Capitol Region Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Metropolitan Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Lower CT River Valley Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Northeast CT Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Northwest Hills Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". South Central Regional Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Southeastern CT Council of Governments.
  • "Official Website". Western CT Council of Governments.


  1. ^ "Regional Councils of Governments (RCOGs) in Connecticut". Office of Policy and Management. 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program" (PDF). CT DOT. 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  3. ^ a b "Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs) in Connecticut". Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  4. ^ "FBI — Violent Gang Task Forces". FBI.
  5. ^ US DOT Metropolitan Planning Organization Database: " Connecticut". Accessed 14 September 2015
  6. ^ "CT’s Regional Planning Agencies Consolidate, Realign and Disappear". CT By the Numbers, 5 October 2014. Accessed 14 September 2015.
  7. ^ "About CRCOG". Capitol Region Council of Governments. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  8. ^ "About Us". CCRPA. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b "About Us". Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  10. ^ "About Us". Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  11. ^ "About Us". Greater Bridgeport Regional Council. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  12. ^ "About Us". Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  13. ^ "About Us". Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Who We Are". South Central Regional Council of Governments. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  15. ^ "About Us". Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  16. ^ "About Us". South Western Regional Planning Agency. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Valley Council of Governments". Valley Council of Governments. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  18. ^ "About Us". Windham Region Council of Governments. Retrieved 16 January 2014.