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Mayors reflect on consolidation survey


Grand Coulee City Mayor Paul Townsend impressed with the number of people interested in consolidation of Grand Coulee and Electric City. - Roger S. Lucas photo

The public interest in consolidating local cities impressed at least one city official last week. Grand Coulee Mayor Paul Townsend said that the number of people interested in the consolidation of Grand Coulee and Electric City was "impressive."

A report last week to the city council on the results of a consolidation survey by the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Council was the second of four presentations planned before municipalities in the area.

A week earlier, the EDC had made a similar report on its survey to the Electric City Council and now is primed to do the same at Coulee Dam.

EDC member Marlene Oddie explained that the survey had been sent out to 2,235 households, with 546 returned - a 24.4-percent response, well over the average for surveys.

The responses showed that 76 percent stated they were either strongly (59.9 percent) interested in consolidation or somewhat (16.3 percent) interested in consolidation.

"Those are impressive numbers," Townsend said again this week.

"We have to do what the citizens want, because we are here to serve them," Townsend stated in an interview. "Maybe some kind of advisory ballot would help. If the citizens of Grand Coulee want to consolidate with Electric City, they need to let us know."

He alluded to one of the survey comments that stated, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." Townsend stated, "I wouldn't want to buy a car from that person."

Grand Coulee is looking for a lot of input from local citizens so that the council knows the directions that people want to go.

Electric City Mayor John Nordine II had a little different take on consolidation.

"If Grand Coulee wanted to annex to Electric City and throw everything out and start a new city, that would be a start," Nordine said Monday.

"I tried to set up a meeting with Grand Coulee, but my call wasn't returned," Nordine added.

Nordine was asked by his council to meet with Townsend to see the level of interest in consolidating the two cities.

"It really isn't up to me; the council will have to make the decision," Nordine added. He said that the consolidation issue had come up a year ago and nothing had come of it.

The Star reported in February 2015 that the Electric City Council had agreed to fund half of a study of the idea, but the funds were not put in the budget for 2016.

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