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ETCOG Happenings

East Texas Broadband Initiative Update: Project Identification Process is Coming to Completion
As you know, ETCOG has been working County By County with local decision-makers since January 2021 to help identify the most critical Broadband needs in our region.
We are thrilled to report that during this time, the following planning items have been completed for all fourteen counties in East Texas:
  • Map Sets Developed
  • Internet Service Provider Analysis
  • County-Level Report
  • Middle-Mile Maps
  • Middle-Mile Cost Estimates
And now, we must complete the project identification phase of our efforts as soon as possible, so ETCOG and our contractors can plan and budget for each project. This will allow us to submit as many grant applications as possible to fund as many broadband development projects as possible, which would enable our business community to thrive once addressed.
We are proud to report the project identification process is coming to an end! We have a shared goal among our partners to have all projects identified and approved by their respective agencies by the end of February.
Our consultant team and ETCOG staff are ready to meet with our county teams to assist in completing the project identification process. We have several meetings on deck or with planning underway.
Our counties will also review broadband “middle mile” projects designed to address or fill broadband infrastructure gaps and needs that our existing broadband providers cannot meet.
East Texas Economic Development District Launches Data Tools to Attract New Investors & Support Businesses
ETCOG, through its East Texas Economic Development District (ETEDD), has launched brand new online data tools to promote the region for business relocation and expansion and to support its Economic Development Corporation members. The easy-to-use tools make information, research, and analysis instantly accessible to community stakeholders, site selectors, realtors, and businesses making location decisions. Existing businesses can access a specialized portal with additional market intelligence to help them grow their companies.
“The benefits from the integration of ZoomProspector into our website are immeasurable. Critical data for our community is now easily available through our website, and the ability for us to paint a strong picture of our community is essential in our business attraction efforts,” said Chuck Vanderbilt, Community and Economic Development Manager for ETCOG.
Paula Gentry, the ETEDD board chair, adds, “ZoomProspector is a critical tool for our organization to market East Texas to site selectors. ZoomProspector makes community information and data easily accessible to businesses considering East Texas and positions the ETEDD to be the first step in their location decision.”
ETCOG has purchased licensing for each of the Economic Development Corporations in the region to have access to the tools and add properties to the site directly. Staff is in the process of rolling out the tools to all EDC members, and 70 properties have been added to date. Visit to access the new features.
$45,000 in Funding Allocated to 14 East Texas Jurisdictions in Solid Waste Reduction Efforts
ETCOG announces $45,000 in grants from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) awarded to East Texas jurisdictions and special districts to support regional waste minimization efforts in ETCOG’s 14-county region. This funding assists jurisdictions in establishing or expanding projects that would directly provide a measurable effect on reducing the amount of waste going into area landfills by diverting various materials from the municipal solid waste stream for beneficial use or reducing waste generation at the source.
ETCOG’s economic development team assists jurisdictions in applying for these funds annually, and applications are ranked and scored by the ETCOG Solid Waste Advisory Committee, which is comprised of local subject matter experts from across the region. After approval of our governing boards, we recommend the projects to TCEQ, which has approved to fund the following grants in East Texas.
“The Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) awarded TCEQ funds that were utilized across East Texas to assist in the solid waste management issues faced by local jurisdictions. In FY 21, these essential projects led to the cleanup of hundreds of sites and collected over 4.2 million pounds of solid waste in total. ETCOG appreciates the SWAC’s commitment to making East Texas a cleaner place to live,” said ETCOG’s Community and Economic Development Manager, Chuck Vanderbilt.
County Solutions Reports and Membership
Dues Statements Coming Soon
ETCOG receives local membership dues from cities, counties, and special districts annually. We utilize the membership dues for general council expenditures, and supports the required match for various federal and state programs. A major benefit of being a member of ETCOG is the designated state and federal funds for our region are voted upon and dispersed by local elected officials and regional representatives comprised of our membership.
We are grateful for your continued membership, support, and partnership with ETCOG! We want to notify our members that your annual dues statements for 2022 will be mailed in the coming weeks. The mailing will also include our new Solutions Reports with a summary snapshot of results delivered through ETCOG within your county during the Fiscal Year 2021.
Workforce Solutions East Texas Expands Partnered Service Locations with Five New Access Point Locations
Workforce Solutions East Texas (WSET) is pleased to announce five new Access Point partner locations established in East Texas. Access Point locations are service locations where WSET has established partnerships with community organizations to set up a place for job seekers to receive on-site assistance. These sites have a WSET resource area where job seekers can register for, receive assistance with job searches, register for professional development workshops, and access resources during their staffed service hours.
The following Access Points have opened:
  • The Panola College Access Point location is in Carthage at 1109 W Panola St. in the W.C. Smith Building, office number 116. It will be staffed every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and scheduled appointments.
  • The Camp County Access Point location is in Pittsburg at 200 W. Marshall St. E3 in the Habitat for Humanity building. It will be staffed every 2nd Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and for scheduled appointments.
  • The Rusk County Access Point location is in Henderson at 106 E. Main St. in the Rusk County Library. It will be staffed during the first Wednesday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for scheduled appointments.
  • The Upshur County Access Point location is in Gilmer at the Open Door Pregnancy Center. It will be staffed every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for scheduled appointments.
  • The Anderson County Access Point location is in Palestine at Hope Station, located at 919 S Magnolia Street. It will be staffed every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for scheduled appointments.
WSET now has a total of 12 Access Points, partnered with Kilgore College, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Rains County Library in Emory, Food for Life in Edgewood, Texas Tech Satellite Campus in Jefferson, and Camp V and St. Louis Baptist Church in Tyler.
ETCOG Assists Jurisdictions with Technology Needs
Did you know ETCOG offers quality IT and GIS services for East Texas jurisdictions and agencies through our Regional Technology Solutions program? Our team has recently partnered with the City of Carthage to build an app that assists with data collection and improvement for their water network and city zoning/planning. Here is a Carthage employee using the app to map a location of utility infrastructure.
We’re also proud to recently partner with Van Zandt County for new mapping services to capture their redistricting data. Sabine Fire & Rescue also tapped into RTS services recently for upgrading their technology software to assist with communication efforts between stations.
ETCOG began offering technology solutions to its members over ten years ago by creating customized GIS mapping services and 9-1-1 address mapping. We have since expanded to serve our member’s IT, GIS, and other technology needs at an affordable cost.
Transportation Security Administration Extends Mask Mandate
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a federal mask requirement for transit systems to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 based on President Joseph R. Biden’s Executive Order 13998, issued January 21, 2021. The Transportation Security Administration soon followed with a security directive implementing the CDC order.
TSA has extended the face mask requirement for all transportation networks, including public transportation, through March 18, 2022. TSA’s initial face mask requirement went into effect on February 1, 2021, with an initial expiration date of May 11, 2021. It was first extended through September 13, 2021, and then to January 18, 2022.
While this announcement extends the enforcement date, all other aspects of the requirement remain unchanged, including exemptions and civil penalties.
GoBus customers are to continue adhering to the mask mandate through March 18, 2022. It is our pleasure to continue providing safe, reliable, and friendly transit services to the fourteen counties in our East Texas region.
East Texas Council of Governments
(903) 218-6400
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East Texas Council of Governments | 3800 Stone RoadKilgore, TX 75662

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