Civil township

Last updated

A civil township is a widely used unit of local government in the United States that is subordinate to a county. The term town is used in New England, New York, and Wisconsin to refer to the equivalent of the civil township in these states. Specific responsibilities and the degree of autonomy vary based on each state. Civil townships are distinct from survey townships, but in states that have both, the boundaries often coincide and may completely geographically subdivide a county. The U.S. Census Bureau classifies civil townships as minor civil divisions. Currently, there are 20 states with civil townships.

A local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state. The term is used to contrast with offices at state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government and also to supranational government which deals with governing institutions between states. Local governments generally act within powers delegated to them by legislation or directives of the higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises the third tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government, often with greater powers than higher-level administrative divisions.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.

Contents

Township functions are generally overseen by a governing board (the name varies from state to state) and a clerk or trustee. Township officers frequently include justice of the peace, road commissioner, assessor, constable, and surveyor. In the 20th century, many townships also added a township administrator or supervisor to the officers as an executive for the board. In some cases, townships run local libraries, senior citizen services, youth services, disabled citizen services, emergency assistance, and even cemetery services. In some states, a township and a municipality that is coterminous with that township may wholly or partially consolidate their operations.

Justice of the peace Judicial officer elected or appointed to keep the peace and do minor civic jobs

A Justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer of a lower or puisne court, elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. In past centuries the term commissioner of the peace was often used with the same meaning. Depending on the jurisdiction, such justices dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions. Justices of the peace are appointed or elected from the citizens of the jurisdiction in which they serve, and are usually not required to have any formal legal education in order to qualify for the office. Some jurisdictions have varying forms of training for JPs.

Highways in the United States are split into at least four different types of systems: Interstate Highways, U.S. Highways, state highways, and county highways. Highways are generally organized by a route number or letter. These designations are generally displayed along the route by means of a highway shield. Each system has its own unique shield design that will allow quick identification to which system the route belongs. Below is a list of the different highway shields used throughout the United States.

A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in criminal law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions. A constable is commonly the rank of an officer within the police. Other people may be granted powers of a constable without holding this title.

Midwestern and central

Madison Township Hall in Madison Township, Richland County, Ohio Madison Township Hall.jpg
Madison Township Hall in Madison Township, Richland County, Ohio

Depending on the state, the township government has varying degrees of authority.

In the Upper Midwestern states near the Great Lakes, civil townships (known in Michigan as general law townships [1] and in Wisconsin as towns), are often, but not always, overlaid on survey townships. The degree to which these townships are functioning governmental entities varies from state to state and in some cases even within a state. For example, townships in the northern part of Illinois are active in providing public services — such as road maintenance, after-school care, and senior services — whereas townships in southern Illinois frequently delegate these services to the county. Most townships in Illinois also provide services such as snow removal, senior transportation, and emergency services to households residing in unincorporated parts of the county. The townships in Illinois each have a township board, whose board members were formerly called township trustees, and a single township supervisor. In contrast, civil townships in Indiana are operated in a relatively consistent manner statewide and tend to be well organized, with each served by a single township trustee and a three-member board.

The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the Midwest. Although the exact boundaries are not uniformly agreed-upon, the region is officially defined as referring to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

Great Lakes System of interconnected, large lakes in North America

The Great Lakes, also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Hydrologically, there are only four lakes, because Lakes Michigan and Huron join at the Straits of Mackinac. The lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.

Michigan U.S. state in the United States

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Civil townships in these states are generally not incorporated, and nearby cities may annex land in adjoining townships with relative ease. In Michigan, however, general law townships are corporate entities (e.g. they can be the subject of lawsuits) [2] , and some can become reformulated as charter townships, a status intended to protect against annexation from nearby municipalities and which grants the township some home rule powers similar to cities. In Wisconsin, civil townships are known as "towns" rather than townships, but they function essentially the same as in neighboring states. In Minnesota, state statute refers to such entities as towns yet requires them to have a name in the form "Name Township".[ citation needed ] In both documents and conversation, "town" and "township" are used interchangeably. Minnesota townships can be either Non-Urban or Urban (giving the township government greater power), but this is not reflected in the township's name. [3] In Ohio, a city or village is overlaid onto a township unless it withdraws by establishing a paper township. Where the paper township does not extend to the city limits, property owners pay taxes for both the township and municipality, [4] though these overlaps are sometimes overlooked by mistake. [5] Ten other states also allow townships and municipalities to overlap. [6]

A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. The term can also be used to describe municipally owned corporations.

Annexation Acquisition of a states territory by another state

Annexation is the administrative action and concept in international law relating to the forcible acquisition of one state's territory by another state and is generally held to be an illegal act. It is distinct from conquest, which refers to the acquisition of control over a territory involving a change of sovereignty, and differs from cession, in which territory is given or sold through treaty, since annexation is a unilateral act where territory is seized and held by one state. It usually follows military occupation of a territory.

A charter township is a form of local government in the U.S. state of Michigan. Townships in Michigan are organized governments. A charter township has been granted a charter, which allows it certain rights and responsibilities of home rule that are generally intermediate between those of a city and a village. Unless it is a home-rule village, the latter is subject to the authority of any township in which it is located.

In Kansas, some civil townships provide services such as road maintenance and fire protection services not provided by the county.

Kansas U.S. state in the United States

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

Northeastern states

Map of Cattaraugus County, New York showing municipal and township organization Cattaraugus County, New York Divisions.png
Map of Cattaraugus County, New York showing municipal and township organization

New England and New York

In New England, states are subdivided into towns, which are fully functioning municipal corporations that provide most local services. While counties exist in New England, for the most part they serve as dividing lines for state judicial systems. With the exception of a few remote areas of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, every square foot of New England lies within the borders of an incorporated municipality. New England also has cities, most of which are towns whose residents have voted to replace the town meeting form of government with a city form.

New England Region in the northeastern United States

New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast and Quebec to the north. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston is New England's largest city, as well as the capital of Massachusetts. Greater Boston is the largest metropolitan area, with nearly a third of New England's population; this area includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

New Hampshire U.S. state in the United States

New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous U.S. state.

Vermont U.S. state in the United States

Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders the U.S. states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Vermont is the second-smallest by population and the sixth-smallest by area of the 50 U.S. states. The state capital is Montpelier, the least populous state capital in the United States. The most populous city, Burlington, is the least populous city to be the most populous city in a state. As of 2019, Vermont was the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States. In crime statistics, it was ranked since 2016 as the safest state in the country.

In portions of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, county subdivisions that are not incorporated are occasionally referred to as townships, or by other terms such as "gore", "grant", "location", "plantation", or "purchase".

In New York, counties are further subdivided into towns and cities, the principal forms of local government. Towns fulfill a function similar to those of townships in other states. As is the case in most of New England, every square foot of New York's territory is incorporated; all New York residents who do not live in a city or a Native American reservation live in a town. New York towns contain one or more incorporated villages, and village residents pay both town and village taxes. Towns also include a number of unincorporated hamlets.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey

A Pennsylvania township is a unit of local government, responsible for services such as police departments, local road and street maintenance. It acts the same as a city or borough. Townships were established based on convenient geographical boundaries and vary in size from six to fifty-two square miles (10135 km²). A New Jersey township is similar, in that it is a form of municipal government equal in status to a village, town, borough, or city, and provides similar services to a Pennsylvania township.

Southern states

1877 map of Warren County, Indiana. Among all civil townships, only Pine Township exactly matches a survey township with 36 sections. Warren County, Indiana map from 1877 atlas.png
1877 map of Warren County, Indiana. Among all civil townships, only Pine Township exactly matches a survey township with 36 sections.

In the South, outside cities and towns there is generally no local government other than the county.

North Carolina is no exception to that rule, but it does have townships as minor geographical subdivisions of counties, including both unincorporated territory and also land within the bounds of incorporated cities and towns (as well as the extraterritorial jurisdiction of municipalities). Every county is divided into townships as mandated since the North Carolina Constitution of 1868. Some urbanized counties such as Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) now number their townships (e.g. "Township 12") rather than using names. Townships all over the state used to have some official organization and duties but now are only considered ceremonial divisions of each county. Township names are still used quite extensively at the county government level in North Carolina as a way of determining and dividing up areas for administrative purposes; primarily for collecting county taxes, determining fire districts (e.g. Lebanon Township in Durham County gives its name to the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department), for real estate purposes such as categorizing land deeds, land surveys and other real estate documents, and for voter registration purposes. In most areas of North Carolina that are outside any municipal limit (outside cities or towns), townships are used to determine voter polling places, and in most instances county election boards divide up their voter precincts by township. However, there is no government per se at the township level in North Carolina, and there are no elected or appointed offices associated with townships.

States with civil townships

As of 2012, there were 16,360 organized town or township governments in the following 19 states: [7]

States without civil townships

There were 31 states without organized town or township governments as of 2012: [7]

States which once had but no longer have civil townships

See also

Notes

  1. "What is a Township?". Michigan Township Association. 2006-12-05. Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
  2. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/historical/miconstitution1850.htm
  3. "Minnesota Statutes 368.01: Powers of Certain Metropolitan Area Towns" . Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  4. "Commissioners Meeting" (PDF). Medina, Ohio: Medina County, Ohio. 2005-05-23. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2009-10-22. Lynda Bowers, Lafayette Township Trustee, noted that we already have property that is dual citizenship and they pay taxes in 2 places. There is Chippewa Lake in Lafayette Township, Westfield Village in Westfield Township and Lodi in Harrisville Township.
  5. The State ex. rel. St. Clair Township Board of Trustees et al. v. The City of Hamilton et al., Ohio , 717(2019).
  6. "Municipalities and Townships". Lists & Structure of Governments. Washington, D.C.: United States Census Bureau. 2009-06-08. Archived from the original on 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  7. 1 2 United States Census Bureau. 2012 Census of Governments: Individual State Descriptions: 2012 , Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, p. viii.
  8. Cal. Jur.45 .
  9. State and Local Government Special Studies: 1948-1961. U.S. Department of Commerce [and] U.S. Department of Labor. 1982.
  10. "Oklahoma Township Government, State Question 58 (August 1913) - Ballotpedia" . Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  11. "Wagoner County - 1928 - 1937". www.ok.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  12. "NUMBER OF INHABITANTS - OKLAHOMA (1960)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-26.
  13. "NUMBER OF INHABITANTS - OKLAHOMA (1970)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-26.
  14. State and Local Government Special Studies: 1948-1961. U.S. Department of Commerce [and] U.S. Department of Labor. 1982.
  15. A Guide to the Frederick County (Va.) Township Records, 1871-1875
  16. State and Local Government Special Studies: 1948-1961. U.S. Department of Commerce [and] U.S. Department of Labor. 1982.

Related Research Articles

Town settlement that is bigger than a village but smaller than a city

A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages but smaller than cities, though the criteria to distinguish them vary considerably between different parts of the world.

Township Designation for types of settlement as administrative territorial entities

Township refers to various kinds of settlements in different countries.

A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decennial census since 1980 as the counterparts of incorporated places, such as self-governing cities, towns, and villages, for the purposes of gathering and correlating statistical data. CDPs are populated areas that generally include one officially designated but currently unincorporated community, for which the CDP is named, plus surrounding inhabited countryside of varying dimensions and, occasionally, other, smaller unincorporated communities as well. CDPs include small rural communities, colonias located along the U.S. border with Mexico, and unincorporated resort and retirement communities and their environs.

A minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau for primary governmental and/or administrative divisions of a county, such as a civil township, precinct, or magisterial district. As of 2010, MCDs exist in 29 states and the District of Columbia. In New York and New England, they are towns. In Puerto Rico the MCD is called a barrio-pueblo.

Administrative divisions of New York (state) territorial entity in New York, USA used for administration

The administrative divisions of New York are the various units of government that provide local services, "local" meaning "not statewide", in the State of New York. The New York State Constitution standardized the names and functions of these statewide.

Political divisions of the United States states, the District of Columbia, territories; and their subdivisions

Political divisionsof the United States are the various recognized governing entities that together form the United States – states, the District of Columbia, territories and Indian reservations.

A township in the United States is a small geographic area.

The government of the U.S. state of Ohio consists of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Its basic structure is set forth in the Constitution and law of Ohio.

An incorporated town is a town that is a municipal corporation.

Local government in the United States governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state

Local government in the United States refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. Most states and territories have at least two tiers of local government: counties and municipalities. In some states, counties are divided into townships. There are several different types of jurisdictions at the municipal level, including the city, town, borough, and village. The types and nature of these municipal entities vary from state to state.

Borough (United States) administrative division at the local government level in the United States

A borough in some U.S. states is a unit of local government or other administrative division below the level of the state. The term is currently used in six states:

The administrative divisions of Wisconsin include counties, cities, villages and towns. In Wisconsin, all of these are units of general-purpose local government. There are also a number of special-purpose districts formed to handle regional concerns, such as school districts.

The following is a list of lists of the cities, towns and villages of the United States separated by state, territory or district name.

Village (United States) administrative division at the local government level in the United States

In the United States, the meaning of "village" varies by geographic area and legal jurisdiction. In many areas, "village" is a term, sometimes informal, for a type of administrative division at the local government level. Since the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from legislating on local government, the states are free to have political subdivisions called "villages" or not to and to define the word in many ways. Typically, a village is a type of municipality, although it can also be a special district or an unincorporated area. It may or may not be recognized for governmental purposes.

The administrative divisions of Illinois are counties, townships, precincts, cities, towns, villages, and special-purpose districts. The basic subdivisions of Illinois are the 102 counties. Illinois has more units of local government than any other state—over 8,000 in all. The Constitution of 1970 created, for the first time in Illinois, a type of "home rule", which allows localities to govern themselves to a certain extent. Illinois also has several types of school districts and additional units of government that oversee many other functions.

The administrative divisions of Ohio are counties, municipalities, townships, special districts and school districts.