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Studies on Saugatuck-Douglas Consolidation Idea Released

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(Saugatuck) - Should three Lakeshore entities be merged into a single metropolitan governmental unit? Results of studies conducted by Plante and Moran and the MSU Extension Service for the Saugatuck-Douglas Chamber of Commerce will be disclosed today. It is expected to show that the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, along with Saugatuck Township, would save money, reduce taxes, and improve efficiency of services if they form a single municipality.

            Noted civic adviser Jim Storey has been recently retained by the Chamber as a consultant on this matter. He says that the idea of merging these three entities is nothing new – it has been bantered about for more than a decade.

            The chamber is planning a series of town hall meetings throughout the area over the next couple of months to gauge public interest in this issue. Officials of the three municipalities were unaware of these studies before news of its release reached them this week, and previous privately-funded efforts exploring the possibility of governmental merger were scoffed at.

            Storey cites two recent establishment of metropolitan government in Michigan – one in Iron River under similar circumstances to that of Saugatuck-Douglas, and the other under pressure from Kellogg’s in Battle Creek.

-Gary Stevens, WHTC/WYVN News

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