About The WRC
In the absence of county government, we provide the essential link between local, state and federal government. We are a public entity, constituted by law and required to meet statutory obligations.
We are an important resource to the 27 towns of the Windham Region in Windham, Windsor, and Bennington counties. Our mission is to assist towns in Southeastern Vermont to provide effective local government and work cooperatively with them to address regional issues. Towns choose to be members of the WRC.
There are 11 regional planning commissions in the state. The WRC was the first, established in 1965. The state’s purpose in creating regional planning commissions was to:
Promote economic development, increasing jobs and income;
Preserve the natural beauty of Vermont;
Obtain and maintain efficiency in government expenditure;
Safeguard and extend local autonomy in planning and development decisions.
What We Do
Our core program of work focuses on the areas of: assistance to towns on planning and zoning; regional plans; transportation, including bike, pedestrian, transit, and rail; community development, including brownfield redevelopment and community development block grant support; energy; project review; natural resources; GIS mapping support for towns; and all-hazards emergency planning.
Who We Are
Each town’s selectboard determines who will represent the town on the WRC. Each member town appoints two commissioners who represent that town’s interest in regional affairs. The exception is Somerset, where the commissioner is appointed by the Governor.
Additionally, the WRC has up to ten citizen interest commissioners who represent other regional interests such as business and industry, health care, natural resources, energy, and housing.
How We Operate
The WRC is organized around a strong committee structure. These committees are where most of the work gets done and the decisions made. Commissioners serve on these committees and make the decisions. The WRC has 10 highly-qualified staff with more than 80 years of combined professional experience who provide support to the committees, and execute the Commission’s program of work.
How We Are Funded
The WRC receives most of its funding through grants, and through a performance-based contract with the state. Town assessments constitute a small but very important percentage of our funding. For the 2017 fiscal year, the WRC’s total budget of approximately $1.4 million dollars is derived from 70 percent regional project grant funding, 4 percent town technical assistance funding, 19 percent state performance contract funding, and 7 percent from town assessments. This make up of our revenue stream is pretty typical. The funds we receive through the state performance contract are derived through the state property transfer tax.
Virtually all of the WRC’s revenue sources are tied to contracts with scopes of work, guidelines and/or performance measures. This means that the WRC has limited control over how it chooses to use the vast majority of its funding. Funding received through town assessments is the exception, which makes this funding stream particularly important because it gives us the greatest latitude to respond to WRC-identified needs in the region. Town assessments, and the funding received through the WRC’s performance contract with the state, are also necessary to provide matching funds required by grantors. The grants we receive enable us to work with our towns on areas such as transportation, emergency planning, community development, brownfields redevelopment, energy, and natural resources. Revenue from virtually all federal and state grantors requires matching funds, and typically non-federal matching funds. Required match ranges from 10 percent (Transportation Planning Initiative) to 50 percent (Emergency Management Planning Grant).
Municipal Services Policy
The WRC has adopted a Municipal Services Policy that is intended to provide guidance for the Commission in the delivery of professional services to member municipalities. It describes technical assistance available to member towns as part of the commission's core activities, and the opportunities for expanded service when funded as a special project.