RD412 - Biennial Report to the Governor and General Assembly on Virginia’s Planning District Commissions for Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 – September 2020

Executive Summary:

For every biennium, the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is required to prepare a biennial report to the Governor, General Assembly, and other specified state agencies regarding the activities and other information deemed appropriate by the Director concerning Planning District Commissions (PDCs) and their compliance with their duties established in the Regional Cooperation Act (§15.2-4200 et seq). In order to comply with this reporting requirement, DHCD requires each PDC to submit an annual report by September 1st of each year regarding the activities for each PDC during the most recent fiscal year. It should be noted that this annual report collection process was revised for this biennium in order to refine the data collection process.

Planning District Commissions were established to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation and state-local cooperation in addressing, on a regional basis, problems of greater than local significance. The Regional Cooperation Act lists 12 specific duties related to this overall purpose. In support of this effort, the Commonwealth of Virginia funds PDCs, largely based on population size. This funding is significantly leveraged with additional support at the local, state, federal, and other level. At the median level, state funding is leveraged and multiplied about 25 times over through PDC efforts to access other funding opportunities from a variety of sources.

Based on the data provided in their annual reports for FY 2019 and FY 2020, all 21 PDCs have demonstrated compliance with the duties of the Regional Cooperation Act. They have done extensive work in formulating regional strategic plans, including the identification of significant priority topic areas for their regions. Furthermore, they have met the obligation of their duties in a variety of functional areas, especially Transportation, Environment, and Economic Development. It should be noted that the Regional Cooperation Act does not require that each PDC conduct activities in every functional area. Rather, each PDC is challenged to tailor its services to meet the diverse needs of its member localities. Nevertheless, for each duty listed in the Regional Cooperation Act, all or nearly all PDCs had some level of activity with respect to that duty during FY 2019 and FY 2020.

In conclusion, the PDCs should be commended for the value that they bring to addressing regional issues. A sampling of highlights for each PDC that demonstrate this value are included near the conclusion of this report.