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Michigan's local government structure can be a bit bewildering. Michigan's 1,242 townships govern the vast majority of Michigan's land area and serve over forty-five percent of Michigan's residents.
Townships were the brainchild of Thomas Jefferson and were created before Michigan became a state. Andrew Jackson's philosophy of direct democracy further shaped the township government structure that survives and thrives today. Townships embody the values of
"grassroots government." In townships, citizens contribute their talents, skills and ideas to preserve the quality of life and to deliver important programs and services.
Township officials live in the communities they serve and stay in touch with ever changing needs. Limited by law in the amount of taxes they can levy, township officials are creative in delivering quality services while trying to place the least possible burden on taxpayers.
Efficient. Effective. Accountable. Accessible. Michigan's township governments embody America's great democratic principles.
Balancing private property rights and the impact on the community resulting from land use decisions is a very important township responsibility. Township governments also make communities more pleasant places to live by providing leisure and recreational activities. Townships do not have direct responsibility for roads and drains, but they cooperate with the state and county agencies that have direct responsibility for these services.
Your township government welcomes and needs citizen involvement. Many township programs and services rely on volunteers. Citizens serve on appointed boards, commissions, and committees that decide important public issues.
Democracy is government by the people. While township boards are lawfully responsible for township governance, the township board needs to hear the perspective and views of the residents on township issues. Keeping abreast of township issues and providing your
viewpoint on issues is essential to township success.