The picturesque west Michigan towns of Saugatuck and Douglas have taken another step toward becoming the picturesque city of Saugatuck-Douglas.
A state commission decided a proposal to merge the two into one city met enough legal requirements to move to the next step.
Merger supporters say it will save money.
“Our studies have shown that we could save a million dollars annually through just the simple unification of the governments into one unity," says Bobbie Gaunt, with the Consolidated Government Committee, which is pushing the merger proposal.
Critics complain merging Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township will only result in a larger city government.
“Essentially what you’re doing is you’re creating a bigger government. You’re not creating a smaller government. You might be creating one government…but it’s a bigger government," says Matt Balmer, with Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities, which opposes the merger.
A public hearing on the proposed merger will take place next month. A public referendum probably won’t take place until next year.