Township Day is Tuesday, March 14
Townships are the oldest form of government in Minnesota, dating back to 1787 when Minnesota was established as part of the Northwest Ordinance. The State of Minnesota is divided into 1,780 townships in 87 counties. While a county is a unit of local government within a state, a township is a unit of local government within a county. Townships were the original form of local government in Minnesota, established in the 1800s when Congress ordered a survey that divided the Minnesota territory into thirty-six square mile tracts of land. Each township is subdivided into sections.
The primary responsibilities of a township is to manage and maintain township road infrastructure, work with local entities to provide fire protection for residents, conduct local, state and federal elections as required, property assessments, and maintain monthly meetings to conduct township business and financial obligations.
A town board of supervisors is elected by the residents to staggered three-year terms on an annual basis and makes up the governing body for most townships. A township also has a township clerk and treasurer who are elected by the residents. The board meets monthly to handle the township business. The annual meeting, and sometimes elections, takes place on the second Tuesday in March each year—Township Day.
The annual meeting is what sets townships apart from other forms of local government. At the meeting, the residents of the township have a direct opportunity to have a voice in how the township will be run. They vote on a variety of matters on which the town board must receive elector approval, and most importantly, directly voting on and approving the township’s tax levy for the next year.
See complete story in this week's issue of the Springfield Advance-Press.