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The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners Monday evening officially  confirmed their decision to discontinue their membership in the  Western Nebraska Economic Development group .

After a presentation by WNED Board Chair Michelle Coolidge where she attempted to clarify the role of the regional group and answer any questions,  a motion by Commissioner Sherry Blaha to renew the county’s membership died for lack of a second. The Board previously had unofficially taken a straw vote  not to pay  the $50 annual dues, claiming the WNED’s purpose replicated Twin Cities Development, which the board decided to  continue supporting.

Coolidge respected the board’s decision, but still feels they don’t understand completely WNED’s role. Coolidge said, “The disappointing thing  was I still think their is some misunderstanding on WNED’s role, but we will continue to work to clarify that.”

Coolidge says it appears decisions made three years ago after a consultant’s expensive  study recommended formation of the regional group may have had an impact on the board,  plus their desire to be more efficient.

Commissioner Ken Meyer maintained  Panhandle Area Development District could have done a regional housing study WNED  communities paid a consultant to do.  Coolidge said in hindsight that’s a possibility, but someone from outside the area may have also provided  “better eyes” regarding the subject.

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