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Economics wash city's Current away

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A loss of manpower has prompted the city of Red Wing to drop its newsletter.

Red Wing City Council voted unanimously Monday to discontinue the Current. The publication was a medium through which city officials could communicate directly with residents.

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Communications Clerk Megan Amsden, who handled much of the Current's responsibilities, has accepted a job elsewhere. Her position will not be filled in the near term. The city has not been filling most open positions as a way to deal with an on-going budget crunch. Meanwhile, city administration has extra work this year preparing for elections.

Altogether, those factors led City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann to call for ending the newsletter.

"I just honestly don't think we can do it," she said Monday. The Current was one of a number of services cut because of a pinch on city coffers. Kuhlmann added, "It's all bad decisions now."

City officials said they would revisit the measure in the coming months to see if it would be feasible to bring the Current back in some form next year. Meanwhile, some of the content that went into the Current still will be posted on the city's website, www.red-wing.org.

What the council decides will in part depend on what the city can afford, what staff can handle and how the community reacts, council members said.

"Maybe people will say, 'Its OK. I can go to the Web and get what I want,'" Council member Lisa Bayley said.

The Current, a monthly publication, had been delivered by mail to Red Wing residents prior to last year. As cost cutting measures the newsletter's format was changed; it was printed outside of Red Wing and distributed as an insert in the Republican Eagle.

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