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Saugatuck, Douglas could merge as soon as Feb.

5:33 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
  • Plans are underway to consolidate Douglas, Saugatuck and Saugatuck Township.Plans are underway to consolidate Douglas and Saugatuck.
  • Plans are underway to consolidate Douglas and Saugatuck.
    
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LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) -- Unless voters say otherwise, the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas will merge next month.

The acting director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) gave his approval to the plan for the cities to merge.  The approval was based on the recommendation of the State Boundary Commission.

The LARA order takes effect 45 days after it was signed by the acting director, and it was signed on January 4.

The automatic merger could be stopped if people in the communities push for a referendum on the issue.  If voters in a referendum turn down the merger, the plan would end.

James Storey, a consultant to the local committee that has pushed for consolidation, says it is likely there will be enough support for a referendum.  He expects a successful petition effort to put the merger before voters sometime this year, as less than 100 signatures from the two communities are needed to call for a referendum.

People within Saugatuck and Douglas have pushed for the merger of their two cities in order to save money by ending redundancies in government.

Saugatuck Township was at one point to be part of the merger plan, but it was later removed.

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