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Group wants public meeting on consolidation


The Regional Board of Mayors heard Monday of plans for public meetings to further explore the idea of consolidating local towns.

Presenting for the chamber of commerce’s Economic Development Council was Bob Valen, a member of the group.

He said the council had made formal presentations before all four town councils and would like to hold public meetings to get first-hand input from area residents.

A recent consolidation survey sent out by the EDC showed enough support to continue discussions, and Valen suggested that a Wenatchee firm, SCJ Alliance, which has had experience in consolidation issues, has indicated that it could assist in moving the consolidation issue along.

The mayors listened, but made no proposal that indicated either interest or lack of interest.

The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce took on the consolidation issue after hearing of interest and gave the task to its EDC group. A survey was prepared and sent out to 2,200 area residents, who responded with enough favorable comments to make the EDC willing to pursue it further.

David Schmidt, a town councilman from Coulee Dam who sat in for Mayor Greg Wilder, said the four towns “must be a puzzle to the outside world.”

He was responding to a report of a Walla Walla firm that wanted to locate here; but when it checked on the population of Grand Coulee, it determined that 1,000 people would not adequately support the firm. The party didn’t understand that there were four towns in the area, with a combined population of over 3,000.

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