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Study of joining cities unlikely next year


Last updated 12/26/2015 at 12:53pm

Prospects of a study in 2016 on the possibility of consolidating the cities of Grand Coulee and Electric City are unlikely.

Hopes dimmed last week when $10,000 towards the study became a victim of Grand Coulee’s budget crunching.

The hope had been that Electric City would follow through with $15,000 toward the study and that Grand Coulee would come up with another $15,000.

Electric City’s $15,000 didn’t make it into its 2016 budget, and the $15,000 for Grand Coulee, which had already been whittled down to $10,000, didn’t make it either.

Grand Coulee’s council, at its last meeting, started whittling down budget requests to gain ground on what appeared to be a $150,000 shortfall. The $10,000 for the consolidation study became one of the victims.

The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, which had offered to facilitate the study, using SCJ Alliance of Wenatchee and do most of the actual work, will probably now be off the hook.

The chamber had asked the two cities to enter into a contract with it to spearhead the effort after vocal interest in the study cropped up.

The chamber had stated that its membership and other volunteers could work to reduce the overall $30,000 price tag.

Grand Coulee’s city council meets Tuesday night, Dec. 22, for its final budget determination, and things could change; however, it is highly unlikely.

The consolidation issue has been bouncing around locally for some time, but no one knows how deep the interest really is. The study would have made that apparent.

Budget revisions during 2016 could come to the rescue, if the two councils agreed to make them.

At Electric City’s last council meeting, it was determined that if a study was going to happen it would be because the two mayors came up with a joint resolution.

Grand Coulee also cut the amount of lodging tax money that it was going to allocate for tourism promotion by $8,000. Last summer’s wildfires, with intense smoke and road closures, likely hurt the collection of the tax on stays at local motels and campgrounds. A good share of that would come out of the $13,000 the chamber had requested.


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