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ETCOG Board to Hear from State USDA-Rural Development Director Lillian Salerno and Consider $83.4M Budget

Athens, September 18, 2023 — ETCOG will hold its 104th semi-annual Board of Directors Meeting on Thursday, September 21, at The Texan – A Landmark Venue located in Athens from 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We are pleased to welcome special guest, Lillian Salerno, the Texas State Director for USDA Rural Development.

Lillian Salerno is a lifelong Texan who grew up in a rural community. She has seen firsthand the challenges faced by rural Texans, and she is committed to making sure that rural Texas is not left behind. She has a long history of working with community groups, government, and diverse stakeholders to improve the lives of rural Texans. She was a founding member of the Whitehouse Rural Council, and she served six years as a sub-cabinet official for the Obama Administration. She has testified before Congress on a variety of issues related to rural development and was appointed by President Joe Biden to her current position in June 2022.

Among other business items, the Board will consider the budget and planning guide for ETCOG operations for the fiscal year 2024 (October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024). The proposed budget totals $83,421,218, reflecting an overall increase of $2,066,427 compared to the prior year. Most of this increase is reflected in Workforce Development for childcare funding, with an increase of $1,803,899. ETCOG’s Public Safety Division expects to receive increased funding for new 9-1-1 Emergency Communications equipment, with an overall increase of $1,082,335. Projected program area revenue totals for the new budget year are:

  • Area Agency on Aging – $6,615,968
  • Public Safety – $3,803,693
  • Transportation – $12,342,346
  • Workforce & Economic Development – $60,206,263
  • GIS & Regional Technology Solutions – $88,224
  • General Fund – $364,724

“ETCOG provides a forum for elected officials to come together and solve common problems,” said ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland. “With local elected official guidance and consent, we administer and manage the state and federal grant programs for which we receive funds. Our Board will review the budget and planning guide, which sets forth our plan for the delivery of regional services through four major program areas: Workforce and Economic Development, Area Agency on Aging (AAA), Public Safety, and Transportation.”

ETCOG’s Board of Directors is comprised of elected officials representing the ETCOG membership of cities, counties, special districts, and school districts in the 14-county East Texas region. The proposed budget can be viewed on the ETCOG website at

The meeting agenda includes business items such as a report on the year’s accomplishments, approval of meeting minutes; recommendations for Executive Committee service and officers; discussion and approval of the FY 2024 budget, presentation of the Chairman’s Service Award, and recognition of Chairman Mayor Ben Middlebrooks’ service.


The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) is a voluntary association of counties, cities, school districts, and special districts within the fourteen-county East Texas region. ETCOG assists local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development. Established in 1970, ETCOG, either directly or through its contractors, provides programs and services for East Texas seniors, employers, and job seekers. ETCOG and its contractors also build the 9-1-1 emergency call delivery system, provide peace officer training and homeland security planning services, and deliver rural transportation services, business finance programs, and environmental grant funding for the region.

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East Texas Council of Governments | 3800 Stone RoadKilgore, TX 75662

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