Neighboring Saugatuck, Douglas vote down merger

Saugatuck and Douglas are located near Lake Michigan, southwest of Grand Rapids.

Saugatuck and Douglas are located near Lake Michigan, southwest of Grand Rapids.

A majority of voters in the neighboring cities of Douglas and Saugatuck have rejected a proposal to merge.

Dan Fox is with the citizens group that backed the merger. He’s disappointed but not totally surprised. Fox said residents will have to live with the consequences of their decision – which he feels won’t be good.

“Who knows what happens two years from now when the Kalamazoo lake harbor is filling up with silt and we have no answer because two governments can’t find a way to agree on the answer,” said Fox. “Who know what happens when taxes go up because voters can’t afford – who knows?”

According to Saugatuck Mayor Bill Hess, the results are pretty easy to interpret.

“Saugatuck people like Douglas, Douglas people like Saugatuck but we’re different. And we wanted to stay the same,” Hess said.

If it had passed, the consolidation would’ve been the first in Michigan in 13 years.

Supporters say the two towns’ identities and employees were worth keeping.

This report was provided by Lindsay Smith of Michigan Radio.

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