What is a COG?

Created more than 30 years ago by visionary public leaders, Iowa’s Councils of Governments (COGs) provide professional planning, programming, and technical assistance to Iowa’s cities, counties, businesses, community organizations and Iowans of all ages.


COGs are indigenous organizations formed by counties, cities and towns to serve local governments and their regional citizenry. Their governing boards are made up of local elected officials, business and education leaders, economic development professionals, and individual citizens.


COGs provide regional planning and technical assistance to local governments and the communities in their regions by:

  • Providing individualized assistance to cities, counties, businesses, community organizations and community members (such as a local comprehensive plan, loans to local businesses, grant-writing assistance, and housing and workforce programs)
  • Providing planning services across multiple jurisdictions (such as a regional comprehensive solid waste management plan or long-range transportation plan); and
  • Providing a forum that combines the elements of transportation planning, housing development, solid waste planning, and use planning, workforce development, and economic development into a comprehensive approach to regional growth and development.


To ensure the vitality and growth of their regions, COGs actively pursue funding opportunities from a variety of local, state, and federal resources. They provide expertise to cities and counties in securing competitive state and federal grants. As Regional Planning Affiliations, COGs plan for and program the distribution of federal transportation funds within their regions, including highways, transit, trails, and other enhancement programs. Most COGs also have established and administer regional revolving loan funds targeting housing and economic development.


For more than 30 years, COGs have been growing Iowa’s communities, businesses, leaders, regions, and future.