Chap. 12, Lesson 3 -- Town, Township, and Village Governments
Chapter 12, Lesson 3 -- "Town, Township, and Village Governments”3
Terms: township, special district, user fee
- Local governments get power directly from the state gov't. via grant of a charter
- Local governments usually share government responsibilities with county
governments. In some areas, like the South and West, county governments are more important than township governments.
B. Town Government (New England example)
- Town gov'ts. → one of the oldest forms of gov't. in the U.S.; began in New England colonies where they had regular town meetings, decided things by majority vote (a form of direct democracy).
- Today, some New England towns still have annual town meetings--voters meet, discuss agenda items, and vote. Elected selectmen (or women), or what most towns have (a town council), run the day-to-day affairs, whether the town has annual town meetings or not.
C. Township Government (Common in Middle Colonies of NY, NJ, PA)
- Township, a county division name borrowed from Great Britain.
- Once similar in government structure to New England towns; now usually like
- As U.S. expanded west, Congress bought land, divided it into rectangular townships, which were later settled. Settlers then set up civil townships, with structures similar to county governments → township committees, or a board of supervisors or trustees, and a township supervisor. (Teaneck is a non-traditional township run with a council-manager form of government.)
D. Village Government
- Smallest unit of local government; usually lies within a larger township or county gov't, which provides for the village's needs (populations often too small for their own gov't.), especially for police services.
- If dissatisfied with county or township services, or they want their own school district, they can apply to the state for a charter to set up a village government. (Ridgefield Park has a “special charter” allowing itself to be called a “village”.)
- Gov't. usually has an elected board of trustees and an executive called a chief
burgess, president, or a mayor. (South Orange, NJ has a village president and board of trustees, the requirement in NJ -- making it the ONLY true village in NJ!).
- The village board collects taxes, and spends the money for community needs (roads, schools, libraries, recreation facilities, the hiring of community officials, etc).
- Disadvantages: Higher taxes to support village; Advantages: Sometimes better
services like a school system, street maintenance, water/sewer service (Ex: Ridgewood’s own water company); more self-government; improved community status; attracts visitors, new residents,and businesses, more money & resources.