It’s Township Day for the state of Minnesota
Throughout the United States, there are cities, towns, country areas, townships, and much more. On Tuesday across Minnesota, townships are holding their annual meetings.
“A township is a unit of local government; it’s Minnesota’s oldest unit of local government. It predates or started about the time that the state did, and it’s based on what is typically six-by-six-mile square sections that they just used federal surveying marks to decide this is where the townships would be. So most of the state’s townships may have about 1,800 are roughly six miles by six-mile square; that change is especially loose in the Duluth area”, said General Counsel with the Minnesota Association of Townships Steve Fanske.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are roughly 5.7 million people that live in the state of Minnesota, with over 900,000 residents living in townships.
They are governed by three supervisors who are the same or similar to city councilors or city commissioners; they also have a clerk and a treasurer. At this annual event, the townships vote for their newly elected officers.
Over the years, the overall structure of a township has changed since they were first established. “They were always aimed at providing rural services, and that’s why roads were such an important piece of what they do, and they remain an important piece of what they do. It’s just providing people access to their property because that’s where the land is really. Our cities are smaller, and it’s the same thing on a grander scale. Everybody needs access to their home, their property, their well needed in townships too, there’s just a lot more land to provide it for,” Fenske mentioned.
When states like Minnesota hold their annual meetings on township day, a major part involves levies for the fiscal year, as Fenske shares.
“Townships as a whole are about 75% property tax dependent, so the services in towns are overwhelmingly paid for by the people who own land. There are residents and folks who don’t live there, but do pay taxes; they’re the services. The things that are important to them are again roads because it’s the most important thing; it’s their means of access in and out. It supports the economy there, whether that’s farming, mining, forestry, small business, or whatever it is; they’re doing it for recreation. A lot of our townships, their primary economy, economic interest is in recreation.”
On Tuesday night, Members of the Minnesota Association of Townships encourage those residents to get out and attend that annual meeting if they can. Those meeting times vary for different townships, you can see the times by checking the township’s website.