LEWISTON/AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A proposed merger of Lewiston and Auburn has been rejected by residents.

Supporters said that combining two cities separated by the Androscoggin River into a single municipality with nearly 60,000 residents and the state's largest school system would save money.

But it seems the public disagreed. The proposal was defeated in Lewiston with around 66% of voters voting "NO." In Auburn, about 84% of voters rejected the proposal.

The merger proposal needed wins in both cities to go through.

Jim Howaniec, the chair of COLAC - the coalition to oppose the merger - is thrilled with his side's victory, but says there is more work to be done. He urged the city charter leadership to reevaluate priorities for both cities. "Do not ever again believe for a minute that you can spend 200-300,000 dollars or more from 3 of 4 contributors, and that we're just going to roll over and let you take our cities from us," he said. "We will fight you every step of the way."