Two of the oldest special districts in the county will merge to create the Beach Cities Water District.
Directors for each of the districts this week voted unanimously to merge.
The 46-year-old Capistrano Beach County Water District and the 65-year-old Capistrano Beach Sanitary District will officially combine on Jan. 1, and temporarily keep a 10-member board, officials said.
Within four years, the board will shrink to five.
Directors Addison DeBoi, representing the water district, and Bill Morison, of the sanitary district, praised the merger, which they have been pushing for several years. A recent study by a consulting firm estimated about $250,000 a year would be saved by combining the districts.
Wednesday's vote came as a county commission is studying the reorganization of six of the water-related special districts that serve Dana Point.
"I ran a merger campaign when I was elected to this office," said DeBoi, a Southern California Edison engineer who is running for City Council. "I thought it was important . . . that we control the process, rather than have an outside agency do it for us."
Morison had been pushing the merger from the sanitary district side.
"I have been on the lead of this thing since I got on the board in December of 1990," said Morison, a retired administrator for the Orange County district attorney's office. "I feel it's in the best interest of the city . . . basically because we'll be saving some money."
Still to be determined is what will happen to Larry Montoya, a director of the sanitary district who works for the water district. He might have to resign his seat, said Ron Van Blarcom, the water district attorney.
"There could be a potential for an incompatible office," Van Blarcom said.
Before the merger is complete, it must still be approved by the county's Local Agency Formation Commission, which is considered only a formality since the vote was unanimous.
Both districts serve residents and businesses in the Capistrano Beach section of Dana Point and a small part of northern San Clemente.