LEWISTON/AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's a conversation that started in the 1800's; should the cities of Lewiston and Auburn merge?

There's a lot at stake; keeping the independent identities of two communities - or saving what is estimated to be a lot of money.

Voters approved a commission to look into the benefits of merging. The committee hired an independent group, whose study shows a combined city could produce savings of $23-million to $42-million over ten years.

"Auburn has 50% more land than Lewiston, but we have 50% less people," said Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte in an interview in 2016. He still stands by that one year later. "We have same valuation, lower mil rate, lower water and sewer rates."

LaBonte wants more information that shows this could be a good thing for both cities.

In that same interview, Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald said the merger could make them a powerhouse in Augusta.

We wanted to hear more from both sides, so we invited Ron Potvin with the Coalition Opposed To Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation, and Chip Morrison with the commission looking into the merger in for a debate.