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 performance-based grants and/or contracts. Town assessments constitute a small but very important percentage of our funding (typically 5 percent of our total budget in a given year). For the 2020 fiscal year, the WRC’s total budget of approximately $2.32 million dollars is derived from 78 percent regional project grant funding, 5 percent town technical assistance funding, 12 percent state performance-based contract funding, and 5 percent from town assessments. This make up of our revenue stream is pretty typical. The funding we receive through the state performance grant is derived through the state property transfer tax.

The vast majority of the WRC’s revenue sources are tied to contracts with specific scopes of work, guidelines and/or performance measures that are negotiated between all of the state’s 11 regional planning commissions and the state agency that manages the funds and/or program in question. This means that the WRC has limited control over how it chooses to use the majority of its funding and, by extension, its own work priorities. Nevertheless, 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.

Towns also retain the services of the WRC directly (referred to as town technical assistance above). These services typically relate to assistance with town plans or bylaws, flood hazard bylaws and river corridor bylaws, transportation system inventories (road erosion, bridge and culvert, signs, etc.), project management related to state or federal grants, and other specific needs such as local hazard mitigation plans or solid waste management plans. In some cases towns will enter into a municipal service agreement with the WRC and pay for the service solely with town funds. In most cases towns will secure state or federal grants to support the needed work, and most of these grants require a local match.

Funding received through town assessments is a small but very important percentage of our overall budget. While very limited in quantity, town assessments allow the greatest latitude to respond to WRC-identified needs in the region. Some grant sources, most notably transportation and emergency planning, come to us through state agencies but the funding originates with the federal government. Most funding with federal origins 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). State performance contract and town assessment funds are essential sources for non-federal matching funds.

We have also received grants from private foundations. While not a major percentage of our funding, grants from private foundations typically support collaborative efforts between the WRC and partner organizations (such as the Windham County Conservation District, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Vermont River Conservancy, and others) to pursue specific projects that help us implement the Windham Regional Plan and further develop regional policies.

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.  


Last Updated: 04 November 2019
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