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Cities consolidation outlook is cloudy

 


An effort to get talks going on consolidating two local cities may be in jeopardy.

A decision Feb. 10, by Electric City’s council, to move forward in support of an independent study, was not a formal vote, according to City Clerk Jackie Perman.

At the city council meeting on that date, a motion was made and seconded to move forward with providing up to $15,000 for a study by consultant SCJ Alliance, facilitated by the local chamber of commerce. The council was asked for a show of hands to show who was in favor of the idea. A majority of the council raised their hands, as did most people in the audience.

Perman says that wasn’t a formal vote, and that nothing has been put in the 2016 budget for a consolidation study. Formal votes at Electric City are taken when the mayor asks each individual council member how he or she feels on an issue.

Former mayor Jerry Sands, who presided at the meeting, remembered the vote differently. “We passed it, but I don’t know if it was at a subsequent meeting or not,” he said. “If there’s confusion, the council can always ask for a budget amendment and move forward with it.”

Councilmember Lonna Bussert said she thought the issue had passed. “That’s why I have asked for our meetings to be recorded,” she said.

The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce had asked Electric City to finance up to half of the $30,000 proposed study by SCJ Alliance, a Wenatchee firm, and then had asked Grand Coulee to finance the other half.

Grand Coulee City Clerk Carol Boyce said Monday that she has put $10,000 in the 2016 budget to help with the study.

The Grand Coulee City Council worked on the budget Tuesday night but delayed taking a vote on it until Dec. 15, the council’s next scheduled meeting. The consolidation contribution in the budget was not discussed.

Chamber of Commerce’s Peggy Nevsimal had told both city councils that chamber members were prepared to help with certain parts of the study to reduce the cost.

The study, if it moves forward, will provide information on how the communities of Electric City and Grand Coulee might consolidate and how much support there is for consolidation by residents of the two cities.

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