Investment in ACOG shows returns to County

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By Stan Welch

Each year, Anderson County invests approximately $75,000 in the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG), an organization established in 1965, which seeks to leverage local resources into a variety of projects, and to fund those projects through a variety of loans and grants.

This year, the return on that $75,000 was a remarkable 88:1, with more than $6.6 million being obtained for use in Anderson County this year. That ratio of return was by far the highest of any of the six counties served by ACOG.

As ACOG executive director Steve Pellisier told the Anderson County Council last week, “Anderson County does things a little differently and often gets a greater return.” Pickens County was second in terms of return on investment with each dollar invested (approximately $46,000) returning $73.00 for a total of $3.3 million.

Bringing up the rear with just $16 return per dollar invested were the Upstate goliaths, Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Greenville received a return of $2.5 million for an investment of $151,000 while Spartanburg invested $111,000 and received approximately $1.8 million.

Of the $6.6 million received by Anderson County, approximately $955,000 was obtained in Community Development Block Grants, split almost precisely evenly between West Pelzer and Williamston for improvements to their sewer systems.

In addition, the County received more than $400,000 in funds to operate senior services, such as shelter, home health care, medical services, and transportation. In addition, funds provided through ACOG prepared and delivered almost 92,000 meals to seniors in Anderson County in 2011.

Over the last ten years, ACOG has obtained more than $10 million in grants for use in Anderson County. Over that time, the amount invested by the County has remained steady at just below $75,000.