Niacog Office  


The North Iowa Area Council of Governments

(NIACOG) is a voluntary association of local governments established for the purpose of promoting intergovernmental cooperation and strengthening local units of government. By working collectively through the Council of Governments, cities and counties can share professional and technical services they could otherwise not afford.

Unlike municipalities and counties, NIACOG is not a unit of government, has no power to tax, or to enact or enforce laws. NIACOG's basic financial support comes from participating units of local government.


Any of the counties or incorporated communities within the eight county region can belong to NIACOG. Membership is obtained by adopting a single article of agreement and is maintained through payment of annual dues. Dues are based on a per capita rate for the resident population.

Representation of the member units of government is reflected in the NIACOG Board of Directors, which is the overall decision and policy-making body. The NIACOG Board of Directors is a 25 person body; each of the eight counties elect or appoint two elected officials and one non elected individual as delegates. There is also one minority representative selected from the region. The Board meetings are held the second Monday of each month at various locations throughout the region. These meetings help to provide a forum for continuing communication among local governments. All meetings are open to the public.


The North Iowa Area Council of Governments is a service oriented agency geared to assist member units of government and their affiliated groups. NIACOG is organized to meet daily and long term operational and planning needs for efficiency and effectiveness of the units of government. NIACOG programs are a reflection of the needs of its members.

Groups which have received assistance include city and county governments,school districts, local development corporations and community based groups.

Assistance is available in a variety of areas including : Community Development - Grant Administration - Housing - Personnel Planning - Safety Training - Technical Assistance - Transit - Transportation Planning MORE DETAILS


The NIACOG Planning staff works with local representatives in the preparation of local and regional comprehensive guidelines for development. This involves planning in the areas of land use, economic development, recreation, historical preservation, housing, solid waste, recycling, and others; in the form of comprehensive development plans, recreation plans, zoning and subdivision ordinances, personnel polices, annexation studies, site designs, neighborhood studies, community builder plans, and housing needs assessments. By acting as a conduit for information and projects, planning by NIACOG allows better coordination and communication between local governmental units and state and federal agencies.


Membership with NIACOG allows communities to obtain management and professional personnel to assist with local problems. As with all programs at NIACOG, technical assistance is an essential ingredient of the planning department's services.

Technical assistance offered by NIACOG has been expanded to include assistance in the actual day-to-day operation of city and county government in the form of circuit riding in administration in zoning and grantsmanship. This assists city and county personnel in the performance of their jobs when specific expertise is required, and enables cities and counties to receive administrative technical assistance while eliminating the high cost of permanent personnel.


NIACOG provides member governments assistance in making application for, securing and administering federal and state grants-in-aid. Funding needs include, but are not limited to, community and economic development, infrastructure, transportation, recreation and conservation, housing, community facilities and services.

The federal and state governments sponsor a wide variety of programs to be carried out on the local level. Funds are generally allocated in small, rural areas on a discretionary basis. Communities must compete with each other for certain federal and state program funds. By providing technical assistance to member governments with grant administration, NIACOG works to make them better able to compete for funds and effectively administer programs.


NIACOG serves as the regional transit authority. The agency prepares and administers transit operating and capital grants; prepares, negotiates and administers contracts with local governments and transit operators; provides financial assistance for service operation; maintains a bookkeeping and data collection system to monitor transit operation; promotes and markets transit services; implements service improvements; coordinates existing transit services and expands service to non-served jurisdictions. NIACOG serves as a brokerage, rather than as a central dispatch operator.


NIACOG is the administrating agent for the North Iowa Safety Coalition (NoRISC). NoRISC provides safety training sessions to city and county employees, written programs, and facility safety inspections with the goal of bringing all its members into compliance with OSHA standards for a safe work environment. Membership is open to all cities and counties in the NIACOG region and dues are based on a per employee basis.


NIACOG serves as the Regional Planning Affiliation (RPA), as required by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, to perform joint inter-modal planning processes.