South Hams District Council has agreed that the proposal to create one new council should be put to public consultation.
The same decision was made by West Devon Borough Council on Tuesday. A consultation will now begin in August to gather public opinion about forming a single council by April 2020.
Leader of South Hams District Council, Cllr John Tucker said: “It is really important for us to hear what residents have to say. We cannot go on spending money at the same rate that we are today without changing something and this is an option which will see substantial financial benefits for the Council. We await the public’s thoughts with great interest.”
The proposal has been put forward to help address the combined £1.9 million gap in finances brought about by successive reductions in Central Government funding since 2010.
Since 2007, the councils have been working together, when they first shared a Chief Executive and then began sharing a workforce. Although now operating a fully shared service, the political structures have been kept separate, with members being elected to each council separately.
Leader of West Devon Borough Council, Cllr Philip Sanders, added: “I am pleased that the public will get the chance to consider this. If our councillors agree to submit the proposal, the secretary of state will look at the results of the consultation and it will help in making a final, informed decision.
“The last 10 years have enabled both South Hams and West Devon to make savings through the partnership so we are confident that this is the way forward to help balance the forecasted budget shortfall and avoid cuts to our valued services.”