BREAKING NEWS: Centralia Economic Development Department on Chopping Block

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    Centralia City Manager Patrick Sorensen has proposed several cuts in light of the $270,000 budget shortfall anticipated at the end of 2010, the most notable being the complete dismantling of the city’s Economic Development Department.

    Cutting the embattled department would save the city more than $146,000 in salaries, benefits and other services.

    “It will be noticed by certain segments of our community that we no longer have an individual dedicated to this function,” Sorensen said in a memo about the Economic Development Department. “However, as much as I support the value of this function, it is not a core service.”

    The department had come under fire in July, after city council members Ted Shannon and Ryan Barrett were vocal about a department they felt was “under performing.”

    Other councilors have agreed, in light of the 2010 budget concerns.

    “As our Economic Development Department is set up right now, I don’t think it’s been effective as it could be,” Councilor Harlan Thompson said.

    Additional proposed cuts would save the city just under $300,000. Over $38,000 would be saved with the closure of the Pearl Street Pool, eliminating a park supervisor position would save about $65,000 and $50,000 was shaved from the police department.

    The cuts are anticipated to prevent any cuts that would need to be made during the middle of next year.

    “If we have to add we can add if we have the money, but its harder to cut,” the city manager said about making the first cuts the deepest.

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