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SOUTH PLAINS ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS

SOUTH PLAINS ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS. The South Plains Association of Governments is a voluntary organization of local governments within a fifteen-county area of Texas State Planning Region Two in West Texas. In 1965 an act of the Texas legislature authorized such organizations. The SPAG was first organized as the Lubbock Metropolitan Council of Governments in June 1967. On August 6, 1969, the name was officially changed to South Plains Association of Governments. SPAG is one of twenty-four such organizations in the state. The primary goal of SPAG is to pursue the wellbeing of all citizens in its member entities by providing a forum for people and governments in which they can exchange information of regional interest. The agency reviews and helps coordinate federal, state, and local programs. SPAG is expressly denied powers of taxation or enforcement. Membership includes all fifteen counties, forty cities, and nine special purpose districts. The fifteen counties are Bailey, Cochran, Crosby, Dickens, Floyd, Garza, Hale, Hockley, King, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Terry, and Yoakum. Membership includes two types, general-government members from the counties and cities and special-purpose government members from all school, water, sewer, soil and water conservation, and hospital districts. The association is governed by a forty-three-member board of directors elected by the members. The board meets monthly and provides policy direction. It is composed of at least one member from each county, and state law requires that at least two-thirds of its members must be locally elected officials selected from the general assembly of SPAG. Minority representatives constitute one-fourth of the board's membership. The board of directors elects the officers of the association, and these officers make up the executive committee of ten members, which meets monthly. SPAG maintains an extensive committee structure of 150 private citizens who serve on various advisory committees for all of the association's major programs. The board recommends an annual operating budget to be approved by the general assembly, which is composed of more than seventy locally elected officials. An annual business meeting of the general assembly is held in September of each year.

In the late 1980s a summary of SPAG's projected revenues listed restricted resources of $356,000, including $50,000 annual membership dues; local contracts and project revenues, $242,000; state program grants and contracts, $1,400,000; and federal program grants and contracts, $50,000, for a net of approximately $2 million in resources. Total projected expenditures were about $2 million, leaving $230,000 as a balance. Programs of the association deal with aging, regional service, law enforcement, and economic development. With aid from the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, SPAG provides training conferences and programs, a regional director of services, and training of teachers and school personnel in the use of an alcohol and drug abuse prevention curriculum. The Texas Community Development Program has made money available on a competitive basis to cities and counties for planning, economic development, and community-improvement projects. In recent years members have become increasingly interested in items falling within the economic-development category, including an agricultural-bond corporation, a local development company authorized to make long-term Small Business Administration loans, an export-assistance program offered in an attempt to increase employment by expanding the markets of local agricultural producers and manufacturers, a program established to provide low-interest financing for the construction of housing for low and moderate income families, and a contract procurement center to provide area businesses with assistance in securing contracts to sell their goods and services to the federal government. SPAG has been a coordinating agency for census information and other data to help planning by local governments.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

South Plains Association of Governments, Annual Report, 1973–74. South Plains Association of Governments, Perspective '79 (Lubbock, 1979).

Jeanne F. Lively

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Jeanne F. Lively, "SOUTH PLAINS ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mas01), accessed December 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.