Texoma Council of Government’s Uttara Nilawar presented TCOG Board members with a colorful infographic on Thursday, detailing how the Council "had a total impact of almost $24 million on the Texoma economy during fiscal year 2013."

Texoma Council of Government’s Uttara Nilawar presented TCOG Board members with a colorful infographic on Thursday, detailing how the Council "had a total impact of almost $24 million on the Texoma economy during fiscal year 2013."


The Board also previewed its strategic plan for developing the Texoma economy in the upcoming fiscal year with a brief presentation from Executive Director Susan Thomas.


Thomas said that TCOG’s strategic plan for the future has a renewed emphasis on "promoting awareness of (TCOG), finding non-government sources of funding" and "using new technology," such as social media to accomplish the Council’s goals. Thomas said the new strategic plan is similar to last year’s plan.


Nilawar’s presentation showed that TCOG’s current strategies produced 119 permanent jobs in the region and facilitated over $2.1 million dollars in "total value of hours volunteered."


"There are people that would agree and disagree about the value of those hours," Thomas said. "I don’t really focus on the value as much as I focus on the number of hours, and what that equates to in full-time employees. A hundred and forty-five thousand hours equates to 70 full-time employees. (That is) the equivalent of 70 people, working 40 hours a week in volunteer hours, to do good across our region, and I think that’s a staggering number."


Nilawar’s report also included another number that Thomas pointed out to the assembled community leaders. "Why should we pay our membership dues, and what value is there in paying the dues?" Thomas asked rhetorically before continuing: "We ran the calculation on the total economic impact, and the overall economic impact that this organization has had is $489 in impact for every dollar that you pay in membership dues. I think that’s a pretty loud statement, and it suggests that there’s great value in those membership dues."


The report, available on TCOG’s website (http://bit.ly/1c4zdvo), states that the Council "calculated its economic impact on the region by looking at direct and indirect forms of impact, including worker’s salaries, volunteer hours, expenditures to local vendors and supported tax base and tax revenues."


In other business, the Board approved a motion allowing Thomas to execute a contract with AT&T for 9-1-1 equipment and services. Thomas said during the meeting that TCOG had looked at several bids on the 9-1-1 equipment and found this company’s bid to be the most competitive.


The Board also moved to accept approximately $45,000 in grant money from the United States Department of Homeland Security, to be used for "emergency preparedness" in the region.


Thomas closed the meeting by giving a brief update about changes to TCOG’s medical plan for its own employees, partially influenced by the shifting standards for employers based on the nationwide implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.