SAUGATUCK (WWJ/AP) – Voters in the southwestern Michigan tourist towns of Saugatuck and Douglas could vote next year about whether to combine the communities.

The update comes after a recommendation from the State Boundary Commission, reported.

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The merger recommendation now goes to the director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to consider the commission’s decision. If approved, the merger recommendation will have to be turned into a local ballot issue. The cities have a combined population of 2,100.

There had been discussion about including Allegan County’s Saugatuck Township in the merger, but that was dropped.

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Supporters of the merger say it would help the communities with tourism and provide one government to preserve the Kalamazoo River harbor.

The cities already share police, fire, library and sewer and water services.

Both cities are favorites of metro Detroiters who flock to the state’s western coast to spend sunny summer days along the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan.

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