Civil township

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.

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.

Midwestern and central

Madison Township Hall
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.

Civil townships in these states are generally not incorporated, and nearby cities may annex land in adjoining townships with relative ease. In Michigan, general law townships are corporate entities (e.g. they can be the subject of lawsuits), 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". 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.[2] 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,[3] though these overlaps are sometimes overlooked by mistake.[4] Ten other states also allow townships and municipalities to overlap.[5]

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

Northeastern states

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

New England and New York

In New England, the 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.

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 (10–135 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

Warren County, Indiana map from 1877 atlas
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:[6]

States without civil townships

There were 31 states without organized town or township governments as of 2012:[6]

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

States which once had but no longer have civil townships

  • California had townships at statehood. County boards of supervisors had the authority to create, consolidate, or abolish townships as late as the 1920s.[7]
  • Iowa had 1,608 townships in 1942. By 1952, their responsibilities and functions had essentially been absorbed by their counties, were considered "vestigal", and were no longer counted.[8]
  • Oklahoma did have civil townships statewide upon statehood. On August 5, 1913, Oklahoma voters passed the Oklahoma Township Amendment, also known as State Question 58. This allowed the creation or abolishment of townships on a county by county basis.[9] By the mid 1930s, all counties had voted to abolish them.[10] Their former names and boundaries were used for United States census counting purposes and census documentation through 1960, after which Census Counting Divisions (CCDs) were used.[11][12]
  • South Carolina had 2 townships in 1952, those of Folly Island, and Sullivan's Island.[13]
  • The 1870 Constitution of Virginia required the division of counties into townships, but an amendment in 1874 converted those townships into magisterial districts.[14]
  • Washington had 70 townships in 1952, in only Spokane and Whatcom counties, for administration of local roads.[15]

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. ^ "Minnesota Statutes 368.01: Powers of Certain Metropolitan Area Towns". Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ The State ex. rel. St. Clair Township Board of Trustees et al. v. The City of Hamilton et al., Ohio, 717 (2019).
  5. ^ "Municipalities and Townships". Lists & Structure of Governments. Washington, D.C.: United States Census Bureau. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  6. ^ a b United States Census Bureau. 2012 Census of Governments: Individual State Descriptions: 2012, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, p. viii.
  7. ^ Cal. Jur. 45.
  8. ^ State and Local Government Special Studies: 1948-1961. U.S. Department of Commerce [and] U.S. Department of Labor. 1982.
  9. ^ "Oklahoma Township Government, State Question 58 (August 1913) - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  10. ^ "Wagoner County - 1928 - 1937". www.ok.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  11. ^ "NUMBER OF INHABITANTS - OKLAHOMA (1960)" (PDF).
  12. ^ "NUMBER OF INHABITANTS - OKLAHOMA (1970)" (PDF).
  13. ^ State and Local Government Special Studies: 1948-1961. U.S. Department of Commerce [and] U.S. Department of Labor. 1982.
  14. ^ A Guide to the Frederick County (Va.) Township Records, 1871-1875
  15. ^ State and Local Government Special Studies: 1948-1961. U.S. Department of Commerce [and] U.S. Department of Labor. 1982.

External links

Macomb Township, Michigan

Macomb Township is a civil township within Metro Detroit in Macomb County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The township's population was 50,477 at the 2000 Census. The population at the 2010 Census was 79,580, making it Michigan's fastest growing major municipality and by far the state's most populous civil township.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Benton County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Benton County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Benton County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 5 properties listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Blackford County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Blackford County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Blackford County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 4 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Crawford County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Crawford County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Crawford County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 2 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Greene County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Greene County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Greene County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 7 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Newton County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Newton County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Newton County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 6 properties listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Ohio County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Ohio County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on National Register of Historic Places in Ohio County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 3 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Pike County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Pike County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Pike County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 3 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Pulaski County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Pulaski County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Pulaski County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 7 properties listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Scott County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Scott County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Scott County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 3 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Starke County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Starke County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Starke County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 2 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Switzerland County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Switzerland County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Switzerland County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 8 properties listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Tipton County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Tipton County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Tipton County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 2 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Warren County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Warren County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Warren County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 4 properties listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Wells County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Wells County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Wells County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 4 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county. Another property was once listed but has been removed.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in White County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in White County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in White County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 5 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Whitley County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Whitley County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Whitley County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 6 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.

Survey township

Survey township, sometimes called Congressional township, as used by the United States Public Land Survey System, refers to a square unit of land, that is nominally six (U.S. Survey) miles (~9.7 km) on a side. Each 36-square-mile (~93 km2) township is divided into 36 one-square-mile (~2.6 km2) sections, that can be further subdivided for sale, and each section covers a nominal 640 acres (2.6 km2). The townships are referenced by a numbering system that locates the township in relation to a principal meridian (north-south) and a base line (east-west). For example, Township 2 North, Range 4 East is the 4th township east of the principal meridian and the 2nd township north of the base line. Township (exterior) lines were originally surveyed and platted by the US General Land Office using contracted private survey crews. Later survey crews subdivided the townships into sections (interior) lines. Virtually all lands covered by this system were sold according to these boundaries. They are marked on the U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps.

Township (United States)

A township in the United States is a small geographic area.The term is used in three ways.

A survey township is simply a geographic reference used to define property location for deeds and grants as surveyed and platted by the General Land Office (GLO). A survey township is nominally six by six miles square, or 23,040 acres.

A civil township is a unit of local government, generally a civil division of a county. Counties are the primary divisional entities created by U.S. states, thus townships vary from state to state in their powers and organizations. Civil townships are generally given a name, sometimes abbreviated "Twp".

A charter township is similar to a civil township, found only in the state of Michigan. Provided certain conditions are met, a charter township is mostly exempt from annexation to contiguous cities or villages, and carries additional rights and responsibilities of home rule.

Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

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