Executive Director's Message

The Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) is a voluntary association, established in 1969, and is comprised of the State College Borough and the Townships of College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris, and Patton. The COG’s service area is approximately 150 square miles with a population of 97,000 residents including 45,000 Penn State University students.

Area residents are joined economically, socially, and geographically as one community. The COG’s overriding goal is to provide public services in an economical way that improves the quality of life and protects the safety of Centre Region residents. It is the oldest and most successful COG in the Commonwealth, having celebrated 50 years of service in 2019. Many of the COG’s programs are models for other Pennsylvania communities and are regarded as best practices by the Commonwealth.

A COG is not another layer of government. A COG is a voluntary association of elected public officials from all or most of the municipalities in a region. It provides the means of communication, cooperation, and joint action in the interest of the municipalities, individually, and collectively.

The Centre Region COG provides Fire Protection, Emergency Management, Code Administration, Parks and Recreation, Library, Planning and Refuse and Recycling services for the region. The COG has a budget of approximately $29 million and employs staff for approximately 80 full-time and 30 part-time positions. The COG also employs staff for an additional 300 seasonal and/contract positions. Additionally, the COG provides Code Administration services to Bellefonte Borough and Refuse and Recycling services to Benner Township.

More About COG Services and Successes:

Regional Fire Protection: A single COG funded fire company protects the four largest municipalities (87,000 residents) and Penn State University. The program has one of the best ISO ratings in Pennsylvania, translating into lower insurance costs for property owners. The annual cost of fire protection for the service area was $20.04 per person in 2019, about 11% of the national average for a community of 85,000 + residents.

Centre Region Emergency Management: The COG has a single emergency operations plan, Emergency Operations Center, and an Emergency Management Coordinator for the entire Centre Region. Many emergency management activities are conducted jointly with Penn State University.

Regional Refuse/Recycling Services: The COG issues and administers a contract for providing collection services to over 16,600 residential customers in five municipalities. The current monthly fees are less now than when the program was established in 1991.

Centre Region Code Code Administration: The Code Agency performs inspections on approximately $250 million in new construction annually within seven area municipalities. The Code Agency also inspects over 20,000 rental units once every three years. The Code Agency has earned one of the best ISO ratings in the United States. Code inspection services have been entirely self-funded through permit fees for over 42 years.

Centre Regional Planning Agency: The Planning Agency provides a broad range of professional regional and municipal land use planning services to create and sustain a vibrant, healthy, and economically diverse community. A planning priority is the integration of sustainable practices into the community and local government practices. The COG is also part of the Centre County Metropolitan Planning Organization (CCMPO), and works with federal, state, county, and municipal officials on long-range transportation planning

Centre Region Parks and Recreation: The State College Borough and the Townships of College, Ferguson, Harris, and Patton are served by the Centre Region Parks and Recreation agency. Facilities maintained and operated include 56 parks (924 acres), the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, Welch, and Park Forest Pools, and the Centre Region Active Adult Center.

Schlow Centre Region Library: The regional library is one of the most well-utilized public buildings in the Centre Region. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of 800 patrons per day visited the 38,000 sq. foot library located in the heart of downtown State College. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Schlow team responded to community needs by increasing electronic resources and providing much of their programming virtually.

Office of Administration: The COG Office of Administration provides administrative, human resources, accounting, budgeting, and other financial services for the COG agencies and provides support to the General Forum and several COG committees. For more, Meet the Administration Team.