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Cities Consider Pooling Budget For Eda Grants

Ideas revolve around joint applications to the county

Last week, the White Salmon City Council and the Bingen City Council both "penciled in" preliminary ideas for funding from the county's Economic Development Authority program.

The EDA money comes via revenues from the regional landfill in Roosevelt. The fund typically is in the $350,000-$500,000 range each year, and is distributed to worthy community development projects throughout the Klickitat County.

A couple of the ideas considered last week revolved around joint applications from both cities.

Those proposals included support for Project Open Door, an after-school program for local public school students; and building an animal control shelter to house stray animals.

Other proposals to be considered in Bingen included building a picnic shelter for Daubenspeck Park, and funding design work for possible expansion of the Gorge Heritage Museum in Bingen, a city-owned property.

"We are allowed to apply for two projects, and typically projects in the $25,000-$30,000 range get funded," noted Bingen Mayor Brian Prigel.

However, Prigel said he was not sure that level of grant support would be enough to build a dog pound.

"It would probably fund a part-time animal control officer, but without any place to put animals, that doesn't do much good," Prigel said. "We'll have to wait to see what the cities can do jointly."

Prigel said Bingen would make its final priorities partly based on what the White Salmon City Council decides.

White Salmon Mayor Roger Holen suggested getting the two councils together to reach a consensus.

"We need to hold joint discussions about what would benefit the two cities most," Holen said. "Maybe there is a way to start building toward animal control. Maybe in 2003 we could build a physical spot for the animals, then hire an animal control officer in 2004."

Jeanette Fentie, a member of the Bingen City Council, said there were ways to keep costs down that hadn't been adequately considered to date.

"Animal control is very important to both of our cities. There are a lot of feral dogs and cats roaming around," Fentie explained. "I don't think it's as big an expense as everyone thinks it is. We could contract out a shelter. There are people who would love to contract out; people who have barns or other structures that could meet the standards. We don't need to build a whole new facility."

"I think we should look at a solution," agreed Mayor Roger Holen.

Holen recommended that members of the combined city councils meet jointly to discuss possibilities.

That meeting is scheduled to take place at Bingen City Hall on Dec. 17. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

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