Jess Shut Up
I had a dream. In this dream Coulee Country was one. One town, in four counties. One mayor, with one council, one police department with one chief. One water company, one power company. We were one.
The time has come for this column, and it will not be popular with some, but it will be with others. For years there has been a murmur out there asking the question: Why don’t we consolidate? And many, many answers have been given as to why. None of those answers have quenched the thought.
To start this we must remember to think as one, for the good of all. Whether you live in Elmer City, Coulee Dam, Electric City or Grand Coulee, we must set the past aside and think what would be best for growth and for the long term future of our area. We all live and breathe in this area and we call it home. It makes sense that we embrace the four towns and come together as one.
What we call this area does not matter as much as the economic bonus that comes from consolidation. One budget, controlled by one mayor and eight council people, two from each district, voted in by us all. One set of bylaws and ordinances. One delegating body to control law enforcement, fire protection, utilities and the economy voted in by us all. One council to contribute funding to the local entities. It would be more efficient and smart. We would not have to worry what the other was doing, or who gave more or who is tightening the purse strings.
Imagine this … we all pay the same utility rates. Now before you go off on how they pay more, than we do and I’m not going to pay that, breathe a second or two and think. We live next to Grand Coulee Dam. A lot of power. A lot of the area people work there and work for BPA. If consolidated, I am sure a reasonable contract for power can be reached with some negotiations. Water and sewer -- I know, a big area of debate. But if costs were going to be the same for all users and spread out over a larger mass, cost goes down. Not to mention a bigger facility and maybe, just maybe better for us all.
How does this sound:
• one police department where you can go and find a police officer instead of flagging down a dam security guard to ask for help,
• a bigger better fire department, broken into districts but all trained the same and with access to the same equipment,
• more utility workers to fix streets, plow snow, change street lights? Upgrades can be done faster and with less disruption. Our parks stay green and have equipment repaired and replaced as needed.
I could go on and on, and I know there will be those who disagree, who don’t want to change. We get comfortable with the ways things are.
I am a history person and I embrace the history here. But it is time to make a new history in the Coulee. Change will bring some dilemmas and controversy, but we are all adults and can work through this. That is, if we want to. It can work. It will benefit businesses and our children. The future is ours to make, ours to dream.
Make some noise out there, Coulee. Be Heard. Make Change. Dream Big.