General Law Township Organizational Structure (typical, varies with township)
Charter Township Organizational Structure (typical, varies with township)
Article VII, § 18 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 provides, “In each organized township there shall be elected for terms of not less than two nor more than four years as prescribed by law a supervisor, a clerk, a treasurer, and not to exceed four trustees, whose legislative and administrative powers and duties shall be provided by law.”
Michigan townships are statutory units of government, having only those powers expressly provided or fairly implied by state law.
State laws authorize townships to perform a wide variety of functions. Townships are required to perform assessment administration, tax collection and elections administration. Townships may choose to perform numerous governmental functions, including enacting and enforcing ordinances, planning and zoning, fire and police protection, cemeteries, parks and recreation facilities and programs, and many more.
There are two types of townships in Michigan: general law and charter townships.
All townships are general law townships, unless they have incorporated as a charter township.
Charter township status is a special township classification created by the Michigan Legislature in 1947 to provide additional powers and streamlined administration for governing a growing community. A primary motivation for townships to adopt the charter form is to provide greater protection against annexation by a city. As of 2011, 138 Michigan townships were charter townships.
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