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Survey shows widespread support to combine cities


A chart of responses from the survey

The chamber of commerce's Economic Development Council (EDC) received an unusually strong response to a consolidation survey mailed to 2,235 residents and placed online in June.

Some 546 residents responded, a 24.4-percent return. Such surveys need only generate about a 6-percent response to be considered statistically valid, information garnered by the chamber states.

The subject, consolidation of local towns and cities, is not unfamiliar to residents who have been around here awhile. Consolidation is a topic brought up from time to time by residents, but generally shied away from by elected officials. It had been the subject of a study done in the mid-1990s and has again been gathering interest.

The EDC group from the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce now plans to appear before municipal councils to inform them of the results, with a presentation planned for the Electric City Council last night.

Last year both Electric City and Grand Coulee councils reacted favorably on the funding issue, but later retracted financial support.

The group is interested in moving forward to heighten interest in business development. But they wanted to gauge the public's interest first. Private businesses offered to fund the survey.

In total, more than 76 percent of survey respondents said they were either strongly (59.9 percent) or somewhat (16.3 percent) in favor of consolidation.

Among those who strongly favored consolidation, 77 were from Coulee Dam, 74 from Electric City and 73 from Grand Coulee. Another 60 from the three largest municipalities indicated being "somewhat in favor" of consolidation.

The largest number of respondents were in the 65-and-older group and in a household with only one or two people.

The chamber, in its consolidation efforts last year, had enlisted the help of SCJ Alliance, a firm from Wenatchee, to steer the work at an estimated cost of $30,000. However, efforts by the chamber to provide many of the tasks in the effort has trimmed that cost to about half.

The chamber's EDC group plans to use SCJ Alliance to assist in the process of gathering facts and involving the public.

The EDC results presentation has been posted to the chamber's website and is available HERE

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