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Saugatuck-Douglas Consolidation Effort Clears Hurdle

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Beachgoers on the shores of Lake Michigan in Saugatuck, Michigan.
Beachgoers on the shores of Lake Michigan in Saugatuck, Michigan.

OKEMOS, MI (WHTC) - The issue of consolidating municipal governments in one Lakeshore community cleared a state bureaucratic hurdle on Wednesday.

On a 4-1 vote, the members of the Michigan Boundary Commission recommended that a proposed merging of Saugatuck and Douglas into a single entity move forward. Once a formal acceptance is made during next month's MBC meeting, the matter will be referrred to the state Licensing and Regulatory Office for a final approval. After that, if no petitons for putting the matter before voters in the two cities is made in a 45-day period, the merger would be final.

However, the Consolidated Government Committee, who is urging such a union on the grounds that it would lead to reduced expenses and improved service efficiency, had filed enough signatures on petitions to put the issue on local ballots before, and officials of the CGC said that it would do so again to have the matter decided by the people instead of by the state. A group opposed to the merger is also reportedly willing to have the issue be decided at the ballot box.

The Commission also decided not to include any of Saugatuck Township in the merger consideration, and Township Supervisor Bill Wester, along with others in the township, had said previously that they would “defend ourselves vigorously” in preventing such a merger from involving them.

 

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