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Old 03-09-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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I was wondering how rural towns in other parts of the country operate. I know New England is different than other parts of the country, as they don't have unincorporated areas aside from Northern, Maine. And there isn't really "living within x amount of miles of a town" because you are always in a town. Also, the differentiation between a town and a city is just how they decided to operate.

Many New England towns employ an open town meeting form of government. If anyone has not researched it, I suggest they do because it is the most pure form of Democracy. Basically there is a board of selectmen and once a year, or in special occasions, ALL the registered voters can attend the meeting to vote on everything from school funding to purchasing a new police cruiser. It really gives towns the ability to set their own direction. This is especially true in New Hampshire, which mostly relies on property tax to fund their municipal spending (there are no income or sales tax).

Once a "town" gets to a certain size the charter can be revised to adopt a representative town meeting which an x amount of people per precinct are elected to attend the meeting.

Since this seems to be only present in New England and I was wondering what form of government small towns in other regions of the country have.
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:01 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Our small town has town meetings every month so the citizens can voice their stand on the different things that are proposed. We have an elected town council and different committees for the different services offered by the town, but the town meetings hold a lot of weight and will pass or fail many proposals. The Committees are not elected positions, but volunteer positions and anyone who lives in town can be on them.
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morris Wanchuk View Post
I was wondering how rural towns in other parts of the country operate. I know New England is different than other parts of the country, as they don't have unincorporated areas aside from Northern, Maine. And there isn't really "living within x amount of miles of a town" because you are always in a town.

*shudder*


Quote:
once a year, or in special occasions, ALL the registered voters can attend the meeting to vote on everything from school funding to purchasing a new police cruiser. It really gives towns the ability to set their own direction.
I've always lived near small, to microscopic, towns on the Great Plains.

The city council runs things within the "city limits." In really small towns it's a "village board." These are elected representatives.
For those of us in rural areas, we have something similar, but they're the county commissioners. All meetings are open. You can have a say, but not a vote.
Because of the small population, councilmen/commissioners tend to be very accessible simply because these are your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

The actual operation of the community (at least any bigger than about 1000 people) is generally the domain of the city manager. Ie, what a mayor is in bigger cities.
In small towns the mayor is usually nothing more than a figure head who runs city council meetings (which is why I never got how Sarah Palin being a mayor gave her any kind of political experience, actually.)
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:15 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Originally Posted by itsMeFred View Post

*shudder*
Another way of putting it would be that instead of townships, the town/city limit is what other states would consider a township. I've seen some rather rural areas that were inside "town" limits in the NE... without ever seeing what would be considered a town, village, even wide spot with a gas station in said "town."
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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Townships are for "rural" areas with more people.
Our rural governances are county-wide.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsMeFred View Post

*shudder*

Yea its seems to be because the land area of the towns are so small, everything is incorporated. Also, of the 14 counties in Massachusetts, 8 of them abolished any sort of government, aside from courts.

So its either town or state government.


Last edited by Boston_Burbs; 03-10-2012 at 08:10 AM..
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:15 AM
 
Location: In a happy place
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsMeFred View Post
Townships are for "rural" areas with more people.
Our rural governances are county-wide.
I grew up in a township that had 400 residents.

Ohio has townships (unincorporated), counties (generally has at least 1 incorporated area, might/might not have rural areas), villages and cities (incorporated),and the state. Each of these areas has it's own level of government (trustees, commissioners, council, etc.) There are also elected school boards for each school district.

Governing body structure varies greatly from state to state.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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Originally Posted by rrtechno View Post
I grew up in a township that had 400 residents.
Precisely my point. Four hundred residents is pretty populated for a township...Shoot, that's quadruple the size of our town. lol To understand it better, my township has 13 (since the neighbor's oldest boy moved to college last year).
And this place is the most crowded we've been in 15 years...

Last edited by itsMeFred; 03-10-2012 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:24 PM
 
Location: In a happy place
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsMeFred View Post
Precisely my point. Four hundred residents is pretty populated for a township...Shoot, that's quadruple the size of our town. lol To understand it better, my township has 13 (since the neighbor's oldest boy moved to college last year).
And this place is the most crowded we've been in 15 years...
And there is one township in Southwest Ohio that has a population of over 60,000. They are unincorporated so they have the same basic governing structure as any other unincorporated township in the state, 3 township trustees and a fiscal officer elected by the voters. Obviously they have more departments and township employees, but the same government structure.

Those 60,000+ residents live in an area less than 6 miles by 6 miles square.

Last edited by rrtechno; 03-10-2012 at 12:27 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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I'm confused.
How does this refute my point that township governance is for areas with greater populations?

Or are you agreeing with me? (In which case, I'm not seeing that either. lol)
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