Minnesota’s 1,781 townships will each hold their annual town meeting this coming Tuesday (March 12). Known as Township Day, these annual meetings are held every year on the second Tuesday in March. Residents of the townships will meet to voice their opinions about local issues with other township residents and also vote directly on their annual tax levy. The meetings also often tackle other local issues. In addition, many of the state’s townships will also hold their elections March 12 for township officers.
“The annual meeting on Township Day is what really sets townships apart from other forms of local government. At this meeting, residents have a direct voice in how the township will be run and will vote on a variety of matters, including the amount they will pay in taxes the following year,” said David Hann, Minnesota Association of Townships executive director. “Township Day’s annual meeting is a great place to talk about the future of your community and work with other residents in deciding how to meet those needs.
"Please plan on participating in grassroots government on Tuesday, March 12. The Minnesota Association of Townships urges every township resident to attend their annual meeting. Township residents can find the location and time of their annual meeting by checking their local newspaper for the published notice or by contacting their township clerk."
There are approximately 914,174 township residents in 1,781 townships in Minnesota. Townships exist in every area of the state, including the metropolitan area.
Some, with populations of more than 1,000, function in much the same way as a small city. While many townships remain rural agricultural centers, other host a variety of residential, light commercial and industrial development.
The tradition of a town meeting has roots in colonial America. New England town meetings gave citizens a way to exercise local authority. Those meetings were especially important in the development of democracy, because it emphasized problem-solving through group efforts.
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 36 square mile tracts of land.
Today, the term “township” generally refers to public corporations governed by a local board of supervisors and created to provide services to residents.
The Minnesota Association of Townships is a non-profit corporation representing Minnesota townships. Its goals are educational and charitable, promoting an understanding of the history of townships and being a voice for its roughly 9,000 officers.
It regularly conducts research and educational programs designed to foster efficient and economical town governmental services and acts as a liaison between township officers and other local government officials to encourage sustained cooperation.
Learn more at mntownships.org.