It happens repeatedly in Coulee Country, even when we invent ways to try to get around our biggest road block to progress.
In a community with four town councils and four mayors, we’ve needed to find ways, institutions, to make it possible to tackle common problems and goals: hence, the Regional Board of Mayors was born for the purpose of managing our common landfill, now a transfer station.
But the RBOM has little real authority and cannot act decisively when needed. A recent need for an emergency repair at the transfer station may be a long way from being met because each town council will have to consider and decide on the cost of repairs, which is a little higher than what the budget would allow.
The whole cumbersome process works, in a way, but not well.
Perhaps what it actually does best is point out the ever-present need in local governance: forming one city. Consolidation has been studied and debated in the past, and it should be again.
The Grand Coulee Dam area is one community with several distinct neighborhoods, not a metropolis that needs to elect four councils, four mayors; pay four clerks, two police chiefs and four public works chiefs.
That’s likely obvious to the many who have moved here in the last few years and would like to see change. The process for making change of all kinds would be streamlined with one government.
More importantly, unification of government would also unify people across artificial borders, replacing an age-old hesitation with a definitive answer usable by all our citizens, friends and neighbors: Yes, I’m one of us.
City and town councils should take up this conversation this year.
editor and publisher