The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (Isothermal Regional Commission/The Commission) is the council of governments for the Isothermal Region which includes Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties in Western North Carolina. The membership of the Commission consists of the local governments within the Isothermal Region.

The Commission serves its members and their citizens by fostering regional collaboration and providing professional and technical expertise. The Commission houses the region’s Area Agency on AgingHousing Programs, Rural Planning Organization, Workforce Development Board and provides services through its Economic, Community and Workforce Development programs and Technical Assistance programs. For more information, check out our About page!

IPDC Request for Proposals – Audit

Isothermal Planning and Development Commission is seeking bids for audit services beginning with the audit of our financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2020. Bid packets should be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on July 17, 2020. To access the RFP please click here.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Thadd Hodge, Finance Director
C: 828-289-8413 P: 828-351-2335
E: thodge@regionc.org

All bid packages should be returned by mail to:

Isothermal Planning and Development Commission
Attn: Audit RFP
PO Box 841
Rutherfordton, NC 28139

Resident Advisory Board Applications Now Open

The Isothermal Planning & Development Commission (IPDC) is looking for residents of region’s Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher program to serve on the new Resident Advisory Board (RAB). IPDC serves as the region’s Public Housing Authority (PHA), which serves the housing needs of Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford counties in North Carolina.

The Resident Advisory Board (RAB) will help IPDC create a forum for sharing information for the region’s PHA Plan. The RAB should be comprised of individuals who reflect and represent the residents assisted by the PHA. The role of the RAB is to assist the PHA in developing the PHA Plan and in making any significant amendment or modification to the plan.

Click here to learn more about the RAB

Create your own user feedback survey

Governor Cooper Announces Extension of Phase 2 and Statewide Mask Requirement

On June 24, Governor Roy Cooper issued a mandatory mask requirement across North Carolina and ordered a “pause” on easing any other restrictions as COVID-19 infection rates and the number of hospitalizations continue to climb across the state.

The “Safer At Home” Executive Order, signed May 22, allowed restaurants, barbershops, and salons, among other personal care businesses, to open with capacity restrictions. The order, which was due to expire on June 26, will now be in effect through the July 4 holiday and expire July 17.

The mask mandate will go into effect Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m. Click here to view the Executive Order.

Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about Executive Order No.147

Click here to view Interim Mask Guidance from the NC Department of Health and Human Services

McDowell County Featured in Our State Magazine

McDowell County’s beautiful landscape and great businesses were recently featured in a video produced by Our State Magazine. Watch below to find out more!

Hit the trails, discover waterfalls, and try delicious cuisine in this Foothills county surrounded by national forest.

LEVERAGE NC to Provide Cities and Towns with Economic Development Training and Resources

The N.C. League of Municipalities (NCLM), in partnership with the N.C.
Department of Commerce and its Main Street and Rural Planning Center, the N.C. Downtown Development Association, and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Historic Preservation Office, is proud to announce Leverage NC, a resource designed to further local government economic development efforts. Through a carefully curated catalog of educational offerings and expert resources, Leverage NC will provide cities and towns statewide the tools needed to strengthen local economies and support enhanced business opportunity back at home.

Over the next year, Leverage NC will roll out a set of educational resources designed to address the most immediate issues facing communities and local economies. Topics will include post COVID-19 development, funding and partnerships, organizational development, project development after a disaster, and strategy development for a new normal.

Cities and towns are the economic engine of North Carolina with 80 percent of all jobs and 75 percent of all retail sales in the state occurring within municipal limits. Cities and towns make investments that attract businesses to North Carolina, grow jobs, and create unmatched quality of life. Click here to learn more.

The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey

The Isothermal Regional Commission is a partner with the State of North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Appalachian Regional Commission to assist our members in Polk, Rutherford, and McDowell Counties who are part of the Appalachian Regional Commission area. Commission staff are here to work with our membership and applicants who wish to engage the assistance of the ARC in improving the quality of life and economic conditions here in our region. Part of this assistance is the availibility of studies and other data that can assist our membership as they work for the people in our Region.

This study examines state- and county-level data for the 13 Appalachian states from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey (ACS) and from U.S. Census Bureau population estimates on topics including population, age, race and ethnicity, housing occupancy and tenure, education, labor force, employment and unemployment, income and poverty, health insurance coverage, disability status, migration patterns, and veteran status. Additionally, data are provided on types of housing units, home ownership, types of living arrangements, travel time to work and location of work, and income-to-poverty ratio.

To check out this study, go to our Economic, Community, and Workforce Development page at https://regionc.org/regional-development/

Changes to IPDC Housing Choice Voucher Program Offices

Starting Monday, June 8th, IPDC’s Housing Choice Voucher Program will begin in-person client interactions by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Rutherfordton office, located at 111 West Court Street, and the Shelby Office located at 127 W. Graham Street, Shelby. The Marion Office will operative via mail only until further notice. Click here to learn more about IPDC’s Housing Program.

For in-person appointments, all clients must wear a mask and all staff will wear masks. When clients arrive for their appointment, please call the housing office and inform them you have arrived for your appointment. Staff will ask the client to enter the office at that point or ask the client to remain in their car until they are ready to enter the office. Only one person per appointment will be allowed to enter the office to assist with social distancing. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

To contact the IPDC Housing Offices: 

Housing Choice Voucher Program (General Information) –(828) 351-2327
Shelby Housing Office (Cleveland County) – (704) 487-0476 ext. 4

Region C Workforce Development Board Labor Market Overview

Please click on the image above to see a higher resolution image

The Region C Workforce Development Board is pleased to share the latest regional labor market data with the public. While these data trends are disappointing, it is critical to maintain and share this information in order to best understand and respond to the needs of the region particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. To learn more about the region’s labor market data, please click here.

RFQ – Landlord Outreach Services/Mobility Counseling

Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) is seeking a qualified, realtor, consultant, or property management firm to provide landlord recruitment, marketing, and training to increase the pool of housing providers available to serve low-income families in our jurisdiction.  The objective of this RFQ is to solicit interest and credentials from qualified individuals and/or firms.

Questions about this RFQ shall be in writing or electronic writing (email) and directed to Tammy Phillips, Community Development Specialist at tphillips@regionc.org or via mail at P.O. Box 841 Rutherfordton, NC 28139. The deadline for the RFQ is June 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM. Please click here to be taken to the Housing Programs page for a list of FAQs about the RFQ.

Please click here to view the RFQ.

IPDC Public Hearing on FY 20-21 Budget

On June 2, IPDC held a Public Hearing, led by Executive Director Scott Dadson, regarding IPDC’s budget for FY 20-21. To view the IPDC Public Hearing on FY 20-21, please click on the video below or click here to be taken to the IPDC Board of Directors webpage. Please click here to view a copy of the presentation slides. 

Evaluation of the ARC’s Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Projects: FY 2009–FY 2016

A new analysis of ARC’s drinking water and wastewater investments has provided some exciting insights. From 2009 to 2016, $115+ million was invested in 379 water-related projects impacting 221 counties. Teams from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Environmental Finance Center and Virginia Tech found that investments successfully targeted the region’s most economically distressed areas, benefited 17,400 businesses and created nearly 11,700 jobs. As Appalachia deals with both economic transition and COVID-19, these types of insights help us better help communities recover, revitalize and thrive. Click here to learn more.

In 2012, McDowell County, North Carolina purchased the Universal Building– formerly home to a furniture plant that shut down over a decade before and was being used as a warehouse. ARC provided public water to the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center, which is an extension of McDowell Technical Community College (MTCC), to be used as an industrial skills training center.

EcoGuard Pivots to Producing PPE

EcoGuard located in Grover is a leader in manufacturing the reusable and recyclable shopping bags, gift bags, and promotion bags. In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they are currently running production for face masks and are giving it to customers who need it most.

They recently donated 500 medical masks to Hospice Cleveland County! Special thanks to EcoGuard for answering the call for PPE in the region and to Beth Norman, the Director of Existing Industry Relations with the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership for coordinating the donation. Click here to learn more and see EcoGuard’s PPE products.

Kitsbow Partners with Wake Forest Baptist for PPE

Kitsbow, located in Old Fort, has also pivoted its North Carolina design and manufacturing capabilities to create large volumes of PPE made here in the USA where it is needed. As of Mid-May 2020, they have made 40,000+ Face Shields, and 25,000+ Face Masks. 

Most recently, Kitsbow has partnered with Wake Forest Baptist Health to design and create a mask that is more comfortable for extended wear. The mask is designed with a larger space in front of the mouth, which makes it easier to talk while wearing one for a long work shift, and unable to touch it. The mask also has cord locks that enables a better fit across the cheekbones. Huge thanks to Kitsbow for helping keep the Isothermal region prepared and safe during the pandemic! Click here to learn more about Kitsbow and their work

IPDC Enters Phase 2 and Modifies Service Operations at the Commission

May 22, 2020- The Isothermal Regional Commission (IPDC) will be revising its Service Operations in response to the Governors most recent order [see order here].  From May 22, 2020 at 5pm onward, IPDC will still operate as an essential operation.  As such, our offices will be staffed on a limited staff staggered schedule with updated cleaning and sanitizing scheduled.  We will, for most of our operations, have staff working remotely.  Beginning Monday, June 8th, we will begin client interactions on an appointment only basis.  This will allow time for IPDC staffing to secure PPE, start new sanitizing and cleaning contracts, and to review office protocols to include distancing, spacing and office schedules. 

Starting Monday, June 8th, we will begin interactions with Clients in Housing by Appointment only and on Tuesdays and Thursdays only at the Rutherfordton office, located at 111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton and the Shelby Office located at 127 W. Graham Street, Shelby.  The Marion Office will be by mail only until further notice.

Working Meetings will be done by either conference calls or remote methods to the extent that they are available and user accessible. Public Meetings may be postponed, cancelled, or rescheduled. The IPDC Budget Public Hearing on June 2nd, and June 9th Board of Directors Meeting will be held electronically [please see this link for more information on these meetings]. We post updates to our organization on our web page at www.regionc.org for further information.

Staff Directory is https://regionc.org/contact/staff-directory/.  By dialing these extensions, staff on site or working remotely should be able to respond to questions, comments, or concerns.  

Public Assistance for COVID-19

FEMA Public Assistance funding is available for all eligible sub-recipients throughout North Carolina who have incurred costs due to emergency measures and protective actions to reduce or eliminate the threat of COVID-19.

Eligible sub-recipients include local governments, counties, special political subdivisions and authorities, tribal entities, certain private non-profits (community centers, food programs, hospitals, assisted living facilities, shelters, utility cooperatives), K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education. An applicant must have a minimum of $3,300 of eligible costs (FFY2020) for FEMA to allow a project for cost reimbursement to be written as an emergency protective measure (or Category B work). 

Key facts for COVID-19 and FEMA Public Assistance: 

  • Funds are paid on a reimbursement basis, but expedited funding is available.
  • For this event, eligible reimbursable work and costs are those related to emergency protective measures that have been taken or that will be taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health and safety due to COVID-19.
  • The incident started January 20, 2020 and is ongoing.
  • Applicants must work though and maintain access to the FEMA Grants Portal (as with a natural disaster event) to access funding.

To learn more about the FEMA’s PA program and how you can apply, click here. Please contact covid19resources@regionc.org with any questions and an IPDC staff member will reach out to assist you.



The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission will hold its regular Board meeting on June 9, 2020 at 12 noon, via an electronic meeting. The Town of Rutherfordton, Rutherford County & State of North Carolina are under a State of Emergency with provisions for social distancing, limits on gatherings and stay at home orders. The IPDC, under North Carolina General Statue 143-318.13 will host an electronic meeting. The agenda and agenda packet for the meeting can be found by clicking here. Included in the meeting will be the budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 will be  available on May 18, 2020 for public inspection online at budget

The meeting will be recorded and placed on the IPDC Website at www.regionc.org 

For those wishing to speak during public comment period, the public can submit written comments to the Executive Director at sdadson@regionc.org no later than 1 hour before the start of the meeting. The Executive Director will then read public comments into the record during the meeting.

View the Executive Committee of the IPDC Board of Directors May 14th Meeting

Census 2020

Census information drives funding and resources available to public schools, our healthcare systems, infrastructure, local government services, housing and more and recognizing that we have had some outward migration of our population since the 2010 Census, it is critical that we improve on our total count for the 2020 US Census. Click here to participate in the 2020 Census!

Click below to watch a video of local leaders in Rutherford County encouraging residents to participate in the US Census 2020 survey process. Currently, the US participation rate is 57.7%, NC is 53.5% and Rutherford County is at 44.7% (Click here to see Rutherford County’s self-response rate data).

Rutherford County, NC – Census 2020: #StandUpBeCounted

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance

EDA will make CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants under the authority of its Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, which is intended to be flexible and responsive to the economic development needs and priorities of local and regional stakeholders.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance investments will support a wide range of non-construction and construction activities, including Revolving Loan Funds, in regions across the country experiencing severe economic dislocations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Examples of projects that EDA may fund through its CARES Act Recovery Assistance include economic recovery planning and preparing technical assistance strategies to address economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preparing or updating resiliency plans to respond to future pandemics, implementing entrepreneurial support programs to diversify economies, and constructing public works and facilities that will support economic recovery, including the deployment of broadband for purposes including supporting telehealth and remote learning for job skills.

Contact IPDC Economic Development staff for more information and assistance.

NC Rapid Recovery Program – HB 1043 Update

May 4, 2020 – House Bill 1043, a bipartisan effort by the NC General Assembly and which was signed into law by Governor Cooper this morning, includes an appropriation of $125 million to Golden LEAF for the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program. This appropriation is a significant fiscal commitment that will help meet the needs of North Carolina’s entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

The need is great and we know our small business owners have a long road ahead of them. The NC Rural Center and their partners in the NC Rapid Recovery Loan Program will do all we can to assist them. Applications to the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will continue to be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. 

To learn more about the program and apply for a NC Rapid Recovery Loan, please click here. Contact IPDC staff via covid19resources@regionc.org with any questions.

NCLM Projections for State-Collected Local Government Tax Revenue

This revenue forecast arrives at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, at least in recent memory. A pandemic has been declared across the globe and is changing the face of the world at a rapid pace.

This document summarizes and analyzes state-collected taxes distributed to local governments each year and provides a forecast of these revenue sources for the remainder of the current fiscal year (2019-2020) and the upcoming fiscal year (2020-2021). Click here to view the Revenue Projections memo.

The League annually provides information that cities and towns can use in estimating certain revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, including local government sales and use taxes, the sales tax on piped natural gas and electricity, and beer and wine revenues. Information includes background, factors to consider in making individual estimates, and estimated revenue growth for both the current and coming fiscal years. Click here to be taken to the League’s revenue forecast home page.

Resources from the State of North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office

We understand that broadband access is more critical at this time than ever before, as people need connectivity for telemedicine, telework, distance learning, connections to others, and for critical information. We want to make sure you are aware that the NC Department of Information Technology, through the Broadband Infrastructure Office, launched a map of the offerings it has been made aware of for free or low-cost internet service, as well as the location of a growing number of Public Wi-Fi spots that broadband providers are making available around the state. The map is available at https://www.ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband/.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined that community use of E-Rate supported Wi-Fi networks is permitted during school and library closures due to Covid-19. Therefore, our local school systems, that have the capacity, can now offer Public Wi-Fi to transmit outside of their school buildings, by reconfiguring the current school Wi-Fi networks. These Public Wi-Fi spots at the schools will also be posted on the website above.  We are working with the State Library to coordinate a similar effort, as possible, with local libraries that have Public Wi-Fi systems.  With these Public Wi-Fi areas being developed around the state, the public accessing the networks would need to follow social distancing guidelines and remain inside their vehicles. In addition, public institutions setting up Public Wi-Fi are encouraged to be hyper aware of cybersecurity issues and take precautions for securing any networks before opening them up to the public.

Broadband providers or other vendors with ideas, special offerings or Public Wi-Fi locations, are asked to submit them to: covid.vendor.ideas@nc.gov , so we can keep the public map up-to-date. School systems and libraries with Public Wi-Fi locations are asked to submit locations through the same email address so they can be added to our public map.

In addition to continuing to work closely with our broadband providers across the state, the Broadband Infrastructure Office’s Technical Assistance team is continuing to work with local leaders to share information and develop strategies for broadband access in local communities. We also work closely with the Hometown Strong team on outreach and coordination efforts in the relevant counties.

See our COVID-19 Internet and Mobile Services page for more information.

Board of Directors Supports the designation of US74,to a Future Interstate Quality Corridor

To see the Resolution, go to the US 74 Resolution by clicking here.

IPDC Staff Technical Assistance

The Isothermal Regional Commission held its first Technical Assistance Kickoff on January 30, 2020 at the IPDC Main Offices.  This kickoff event gave our newest team members a chance to meet our membership and to discuss ways to better serve the membership in the coming calendar year.   Economic, Community Development and Workforce Director Steve Lockett introduced our newest staff which includes Sarah Kopkin and Nick Byrd, who serve as Project Managers in the Economic and Community Development division.  In the Transportation Planning Division (RPO) the group was introduced to Jerry Stensland, who will be working on the Safe Routes to School Grant in Rutherford County as well as assisting RPO Director Karyl Fuller with RPO services to the member governments of Polk, Rutherford and McDowell Counties. 

Isothermal Regional staff discussed ways they can provide technical assistance for members, including: Zoning and planning needs, back office support, grant writing, project management, development of comprehensive plans or economic development strategies, and much more! Staff will also provide updates on the upcoming ARC grant cycle, as well as other funding sources, including the EDA, USDA, and Dogwood Foundation.  A handout of this information and staff contact is now available for folks.  Click here for further information.

There was  discussion about the upcoming land use changes of Chapter 160D of the State of North Carolina State Statutes. Our staff discussed with participating members where they may be of use to assist our members, ensuring compliance before the initial deadline at the end of 2020 and the grace period deadline in 2022. 

The 2020 Calendar year is full of Grant Opportunities and Commission staff discussed deadlines and other details for this list of Grants.  For a full list of Grants, click here.
To find out more about our Technical Assistance program, check out our website here: Technical Assistance.

Employment Opportunities

There are no positions open at this time. Please check our Employment Opportunities Page by clicking here for future opportunities.

Upcoming Board Meetings

The Board of Directors of the Isothermal Commissions Board of Directors will hold their regular meeting to include adoption of the the FY 20-21 Budget on Tuesday, June 92020 at 12 Noon. The Meeting will be held electronically. To see the Budget Message, click here. Public Comments my be forwarded to sdadson@regionc.org up to an hour before the meeting to be read into the record.

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