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!

ARC Impact on North Carolina in FY 2020


Executive Director Position Opens up for Isothermal Regional Commission

The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, a regional economic and community development and human services commission (Council of Governments), is seeking an innovative, energetic, and seasoned professional to serve as its next Executive Director.  IPDC is headquartered in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and serves Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, and Cleveland Counties as well as 34 municipalities in those counties.  IPDC is seeking a candidate with outstanding leadership, management, analytical, and communication skills.  For more information about the position, Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, and how to apply, please click here. The position is open until filled with the first review of applications commencing on March 1, 2021.

Isothermal Regional Commission is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.  All aspects of employment, including the decision to hire, promote, discipline or discharge, will be based on merit, competence, performance, and organizational needs. 

President Biden Signs Executive Orders to Extend Eviction & Foreclosure Protections

Several hours after being sworn in, President Joseph Biden signed multiple executive orders and actions to address numerous COVID-19 related health and economic impacts. Among them President Biden directed the CDC to extend its national eviction moratorium through the end of March. The current order was set to expire on January 31st. Restrictions on foreclosures of properties with federally-guaranteed mortgages were also extended to March 31st. Additionally, the deadline to apply for forbearances on such mortgages is extended to March 31st. 

To view the media release from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, click here.

Press Release Regarding Leadership Changes at IPDC


Rutherford County Economic Development Announces Winners of “Coolest Thing in Rutherford County”


Paycheck Protection Program Resumes January 11, 2021

The SBA, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will open the Paycheck Protection Program loan portal on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 9 am ET.  When the PPP loan portal system opens, it will initially accept First Draw PPP loan applications from participating CFIs, which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

  • PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.
  • Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a maturity of 5 years.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for borrowers who apply for loan forgiveness until SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender. If a borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, payments are deferred 10 months after the end of the covered period for the borrower’s loan forgiveness (either 8 weeks or 24 weeks).
  • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
  • Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

How To Apply

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. 

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download the following PPP borrower application forms to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender:

Learn More About NC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan


Governor Cooper Announces Modified Stay at Home Order to Address Alarming Case Counts

Cleveland and Rutherford County in the Red Zone

On December 8, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order starting Friday, December 11 after a sharp increase in key COVID-19 trends. Executive Order No. 181 requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and restaurants, bars, and other businesses to close at 10 PM through at least January 8, 2021.

North Carolina has broken single-day case records three times in the past week, having more than 6,000 new cases two days in a row over the weekend. Governor Cooper stressed that further action will be taken if these trends don’t improve. 

“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down. Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays,” Gov. Cooper said. “It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”

Dr. Cohen also shared an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map, noting that every county in the state is experiencing community spread. More than 80 percent of counties are either red or orange. Forty-eight counties are now red, recording critical levels of community spread — more than double the critical counties since November 23 — and 34 orange counties have substantial community spread. 

  • Read the update to see where each county stands.
  • Read the slides from the briefing.

Department of Commerce Releases 2021 County Tier Designations

The North Carolina Department of Commerce annually ranks the state’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a Tier designation. This Tier system is incorporated into various state programs to encourage economic activity in the less prosperous areas of the state.

The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2, and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3.

County Tiers are calculated using four factors:

  • Average unemployment rate
  • Median household income
  • Percentage growth in population
  • Adjusted property tax base per capita

IPDC county tiers for 2021 are:

  • Cleveland County – Tier 1 (Most Distressed)
  • McDowell County – Tier 2
  • Polk County – Tier 3
  • Rutherford County – Tier 1(Most Distressed)

To learn more about the Department of Commerce 2021 tier designations, please click here to read the November 30 press release.

Hometown Strong Initiative to Improve Internet Connectivity

Hometown Strong is working on an initiative that will improve Internet connectivity in underserved areas of North Carolina. The focus of this initiative will be on underserved census blocks which can be viewed by clicking this link. Even if your site is not in an underserved census block, please submit it for consideration.

They are working with multiple partners across the state in order to provide connectivity solutions, and are looking for community sites across North Carolina that need Internet access. These community sites can be a range of areas such as parks, community centers, mobile home communities, housing authority, neighborhoods, government buildings, etc. The community sites just need to be accessible to community members; spaces with a parking lot, seating area, or other pedestrian-friendly zone are ideal. 

There is a range of solutions that Hometown Strong can offer. Generally, these solutions will include the device, installation, and 12 months of services. The State will then enter into an MOA with the county or municipality in which the community site is located. 

Please click here to fill out this Google form for any site that you are recommending. The information needed includes the name of the site, the physical address, the county, the name, email, and phone number of a site contact who can be at the site for installation, as well as the name, email, and title of the person serving as the signatory for the MOA. 

Please contact Anderson Miller at anderson.miller@osbm.nc.gov with any questions.

Aging Ombudsman Services in the Region – Update

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region we have temporarily stopped in person Ombudsman services to the public until January 1, 2021. Isothermal Regional Area Agency on Aging provides Ombudsman services that include but are not limited to investigating concerns made on or behalf of residents in long term care settings, provide technical assistance and education to the public on long term care topics; as well as, monitor nursing homes, adult care, and family care homes on resident rights issues.

We will continue to provide assistance and services via phone or virtually.  As part of the CARES Act, the Agency secured electronic devices with data service available for staff and LTC residents use to allow for “face-to-face” communication.  IPDC has purchased the teleconferencing app, ZOOM with toll free calling and unlimited conferencing for staff, providers, and LTC residents’ use. 

Notice of these services has been given to each long-term care facility in our region; as well as posted at our main office, located at 111 West Court Street.

Contact for Ombudsman Services:

Mandy Johnson, MHS, Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman
111 West Court Street
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
1-800-331-9891, toll free
828-287-2281 ext. 225
Fax 828-287-2735

Notice of Housing Assistance Program for McDowell County

The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) will be accepting applications for the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan (ESFRL) Pool beginning October 1, 2020, at both the McDowell County Administration building (60 E Court St, Marion, NC 28752) and the McDowell County Public Library (90 W Court St, Marion, NC 28752).  Applications will be taken until November 30, 2020. To be considered an Eligible Household, you must meet certain income guidelines:

  1. be below 80% of the area median income ($48,300), or be an elderly (age 62 and over) person with a disability, or be a Veteran or household with a child under the age of six whose health is threatened by lead hazards in the home;
  2. you must be a homeowner and live in the home;
  3. you must have clear title to your home with no liens other than a first mortgage, and;
  4. you must not owe any prior years taxes or have any judgments against the property.

If you have questions please contact Tammy Phillips at IPDC, 828-287-2281, ext 243. 

Shelby Housing Office Relocation

Effective Monday, July 20, 2020, the Shelby Housing Office will be relocating to the Main Office at Isothermal Planning and Development Commission located in Rutherfordton, NC.

The Shelby Housing Office will still be open BY APPOINTMENT ONLY on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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

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. 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.  

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

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