The West Alabama Regional Commission is one of the 12 regional councils in the State of Alabama as provided for by Act No. 584 and Act No. 585 of the Alabama Legislature, 1963. The councils serve local governments and citizens by coordinating region wide projects and services, promoting cooperation among the local governments, and carrying out state and federal programs on a regional basis. The West Alabama area is designated Planning District 2, or Region 2.
The WARC encompasses Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Pickens and Tuscaloosa counties. The forerunner to the West Alabama Regional Commission was established in February 1966 as the Tuscaloosa Area Council of Local Governments. The member governments were Tuscaloosa County, the City of Tuscaloosa and the City of Northport. William W. Elliott, director of the City of Tuscaloosa planning department, was appointed acting director. Lewis E. McCray was the first full-time paid director and held the position from October 1, 1967 until his retirement on December 31, 1995. During that time the name was changed to West Alabama Planning and Development Council to identify the growing district. Robert B. Lake, former mayor of Moundville, was appointed executive director effective February 12, 1996 and served until November 2017. Dennis Stripling, the former mayor of Brent, was named the third executive director in March 2018. The first chairman was David M. Cochrane, Tuscaloosa County probate judge. On April 25, 2002 the Board of Directors changed the agency name to West Alabama Regional Commission.
The West Alabama Regional Commission is made up of representatives from seven counties and 35 municipalities. The commission is governed by an executive committee and a board of directors who annually elect a chairman and a vice-chairman. The board is composed of citizens and policy-making elected officials from the member governments. The WARC receives its funding from federal matching grants, member government dues, an annual appropriation from the State of Alabama, and contract fees.