The Kuressaare city council gave the go-ahead to begin merger negotiations with all other municipalities on Saaremaa island.
Mayor Hannes Hanso told ETV on Thursday that a greater Saaremaa municipality would be the most efficient form of local government and would give a boost to the entire island.
He said according to law, the other local governments have two months to reply, although he did not reveal a deadline for the actual merger to take place.
“Going alone will not get us anywhere. The challenges are great – people are leaving, our capabilities in certain fields are not what they can be. Together we would just be stronger,” he said,
The island had planned to hold a referendum on merging on the day of the local elections last October, but that vote was canceled due to poor planning.
Saaremaa island has 14 municipalities and one city with its own local government. The 15 local governments and the island of Ruhnu, population 125, make up Saare County.