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 ProgramsRural Planning OrganizationWorkforce Development Boardand provides services through its Economic, Community and Workforce Development programs and Local Government and Technical Assistance program

The Commission functions to aid, assist and improve the capabilities of local governments in administration, planning, fiscal management and development. 


The Commission was created in 1966 as a Local Development District (LDD) serving McDowell, Polk and Rutherford counties, under the Appalachian Regional Development Act.  The State of North Carolina enacted legislation in 1969 creating 16 regional Councils of Government (COGs), adding Cleveland county to Region C.

The Commission depends on a variety of funding sources, including membership dues, as well as state, federal and other grants and funding sources.


We are a regional coalition which values economic diversity and collaboration. Together we share risks and rewards in order to build opportunities for our citizens. We are a network of the surrounding economic engines with internal and external partners that enhance economic growth.


To be a regional brokerage of assets and talent development that improves individual, household and business prosperity and strengthens local communities.


On June 4, 2019, the Isothermal Regional Commission Board of Directors approved the 2019-2020 Budget. Click here to view the 2019-2020 Budget Message.

The Isothermal Regional Commission is a local government organization and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  The Commission’s IRS Form 990 can be reviewed by clicking here.


The Commission’s financial statements are audited after each fiscal year. 

Fiscal Year 2018 Audit

Fiscal Year 2017 Audit

Fiscal Year 2016 Audit

Organizational Chart

Click here to view the Commission’s Organizational Chart

The Benefits of a Regional Council

As members of the Isothermal Regional Commission, local governments:

  • Share information to solve common problems
  • Avoic duplication of efforts and better coordinate services
  • Work through a single agency to obtain and administer funds from numerous federal and state agencies, as well as from private foundations and corporations
  • Use the Commission’s professional expertise to aid in local operations
  • Promote cooperation between the public and private sector
  • Determine ways of improving our quality of life