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Consolidation talk on hold


A town council meeting at Coulee Dam that was designed to discuss consolidation of services such as police, ambulance and fire departments with other cities and towns was essentially postponed until Oct. 7, because only three of five council members were present last Wednesday.

Mayor Greg Wilder said he didn’t want to get into serious discussion on consolidation until all members of the council were present.

Wilder has indicated on numerous occasions that he favored some type of consolidation of services in the area for greater efficiency and saving of municipal funds.

The issue also came up at the Grand Coulee city council recently after council members there were advised that Coulee Dam police chief Pat Collins had retired. Those council members noted that this could open up possibilities of some type of consolidation of police services.

Wilder went a step further, advocating that ambulance and fire department services might also be ready for some type of consolidation. He said it might be advisable to consider hiring a consultant to review the processes and advisability of any consolidation. Wilder said this might cost from $18,000 to $25,000 and that he hoped other cities would pay their share of this cost.

The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce had been working with Electric City and Grand Coulee on keeping the consolidation issue alive and had made some progress, in that Electric City’s council had voted up to $15,000 to help fund a study by SCJ Alliance, a planning group, but Grand Coulee as yet hasn’t agreed to fund the study. Electric City’s clerk, Jackie Perman, said Tuesday that there hasn’t been any contract signed.

The new study proposed by Mayor Wilder is not related to the other study.

The mayor had indicated in a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation that if that agency built a new fire hall it should consider expanding its idea to include other area fire departments and other amenities. The Bureau has asked for input for its environmental assessment study of the plan for a new fire station at either the intersection of B Street and SR-155, or on land in the Crescent Bay area managed by the National Park Service. One alternative is to do nothing at all. Currently, the Bureau’s fire station is located at the John W. Keys III Pump Generating Plant.

Wilder had planned to get his council to start serious discussion on consolidation of services issues at the Coulee Dam Town Council meeting last Wednesday, only to find that two of the five council members were absent. After bringing the issue up, Wilder found that the discussion needed to wait until all five members were present.

The town council meets again Oct. 14, with a budget workshop meeting at 5:30 p.m. and the regular meeting to follow at 6 p.m.

Grand Coulee likely will discuss its interest in consolidation at its next meeting, Oct. 6.

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