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Background:
The economic development challenges of the greater Columbia and Montour County region are independent of political boundaries. Any solutions to these challenges and programs formulated to meet our common needs will have a greater chance of success if they are undertaken jointly and in a cooperative manner. A taskforce of dedicated individuals from the two counties met over a period of months and ultimately recommended the creation of a new regional economic development organization. This insightful group created the beginnings of this new organization.


Therefore, the Commissioners of Columbia and Montour Counties joined together to form DRIVE, an economic development council of governments serving the greater Columbia and Montour County of Pennsylvania region (“DRIVE”).

 

Other non-profits and private industry partners which share this common goal have also joined forces by providing financial support. They include: Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth, Greater Danville Industrial Development Corporation, Columbia County Industrial Development Authority, Montour County Industrial Development Authority, two banks and the electric utility company.

 

The overriding mission of DRIVE is to serve as the driving force for sustainable economic development in the greater Columbia and Montour County region of Pennsylvania. This mission can best be met through cooperative efforts by the regional basis by the two (2) Counties. This strategy involves combining our various resources to meet regional economic development challenges which may be beyond our capacities as individual Counties.

 

A council of governments in the Columbia and Montour Counties was established in May, 2015 to further this goal. It does not create a new layer of government, or a super-government. It does provide a means of communication, cooperation and joint action in the interest of both Counties individually and collectively.

 

The purpose and function of DRIVE is to serve the greater Columbia and Montour region by providing the professional and market driven economic development services necessary to the creation and retention of family sustaining jobs.

DRIVE also has the following purposes and functions:

A. Forum: To serve as a mutual forum to identify, discuss, study, and bring into focus regional economic development issues and needs.

 

B. Communication & Coordination: To provide the organizational structure necessary to ensure effective communications and coordination related to economic development in the region.

 

C. Policies and Priorities: To foster, develop, and review policies, plans, and priorities for regional economic development and advocating the region as a business travel destination.

 

D. Regional Spokesperson: To maintain liaison with the Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth (“Alliance”) and the Greater Danville Area Industrial Development Corporation (“GDAIDC”), governmental units and other groups or organizations with the region and to serve as regional spokesperson for economic development at the local, state and federal levels.

 

E. Staff Support: To furnish professional and general staff support to the Alliance and GDAIDC to promote and implement approved agreements, policies, projects and programs.

 

F. DRIVE shall not act as a tourist promotion agency. DRIVE acts in support of the tourist promotion agency, Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau and furthers their endeavors in promoting the region as a destination for business travel.

 

The members of DRIVE are Columbia County and Montour County which have appointed an initial eleven-member board of directors which supervises and controls the business, property and affairs of DRIVE. The two County members each have one representative on the Board and there are nine (9) members from the community (“Community Members”) who either reside in either Columbia or Montour County, pay taxes in either Columbia or Montour County or own or work for a business in either Columbia or Montour County

 

The officers of DRIVE include a Chair, Vice Chair/Chair Elect, Secretary and Treasurer. The Board of Directors is in the process of selecting and appointing an Executive Director to manage the affairs of DRIVE. This individual will be ex officio, the secretary of DRIVE and shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings of the Board of Directors; prepare the budget for review by the Finance Committee, and upon its approval by the Board of Directors, have authority to disburse the sums as appropriated; be ex officio, the treasurer of DRIVE, and shall be responsible for the accounting records and financial statements for the Board of Directors for the greater Columbia-Montour region;  have all of the duties and responsibilities stated in the statement of Executive Director.

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The Board of Directors meets regularly and not less often than quarterly. It will hold its annual meeting in February of each year.  Notice of regular meetings shall be published in December of each year in accordance with the requirements of the Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S.A. Section 701 et seq. Notice of special meetings shall be published in accordance with the Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S.A. Section 701 et seq.

 

There are three (3) standing committees: Executive, Nominating and Finance. Currently a Recruitment Committee is searching to fill the vacant executive director position.