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Strapped members quitting government-service agency (access required)

By Hannah Mitchell CHARLOTTE — Citing tight budgets and other reasons, five Charlotte-area cities and counties are planning to withdraw from the Centralina Council of Governments. Meanwhile, Centralina Director Al Sharp said the council is studying how to improve the services offered to local governments, improvements Sharp says were prompted by an altered economic landscape rather than the planned member exits. One of 17 such councils in North Carolina, Centralina and its counterparts offer their members services that, done for the group, are less expensive than if done individually. Members choose from menus of services, including economic development, land-use planning and services for the elderly. Annual dues are based on population. Representatives of five Centralina members — Concord, Cabarrus County, New London in Stanly County, Rowan County and the town of Spencer — recently said their governments would withdraw from the council in July, though Sharp said some haven’t decided for sure. If all withdraw, the council would still have nearly 70 members spread across its sprawling nine-county district.

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