Living in a township provides families with a number of services that match the needs of the community. Township governments are efficient, low-cost units of government accountable tot he people.
The Local Touch
There are three main services that state statute required townships provide for residents and businesses: assessing, collecting taxes and running elections.
Because of townships, assessing is done locally. That means if you have questions about your assessment you can ask someone who is familiar with your property. And if you have questions about or wish to challenge your assessment, the board of review members are residents from our community.
Because of townships, when you cast your vote in an election, you can do so at a neighborhood precinct. And, if you need an absentee ballot, your township clerk is nearby and available to assist in ensuring that you are able to vote.
Because of townships, when your tax bill is due, you can just drive down the road to drop it off at the township hall. And if you have question about it, you can call your treasurer; instead of finding a stranger, you find a neighbor answering the phone.
Townships matter because townships are a low-cost form of government closest to the people. More than 50 percent of the state's residents live in townships. And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, townships spend one-eighth of the amount cities do in providing services for residents.
Budget issues Impact Local Government
Lansing is dealing with a lot of issues right now. The item getting most of the attention is the budget. With all of the problems with the state budget, some legislators feeling the pressure started pointing fingers in other directions, questioning how other were doing their jobs. Some thought that if they could move services that townships provide for residents, such as assessing, elections and tax collection to the county, then government would save money. The reality is just the opposite.
According to studies conducted in 2007 by Michigan State University, it was determined that moving assessing fro the township level to the county level would increase the annual cost by 10 percent!
In fact, the more people look at how townships impact the cost of local government services, the better Michigan looks. According the U.S. Department of Census information, Michigan spends 22 percent less on local government operations than the national average. That's a savings to our residents of $3 billion a year. Townships may be one of the few things in our state that is heading us in the right direction in order to make us more competitive in the national or worldwide marketplace.
Townships keep costs down because people like you volunteer your time to staff our fire departments, or help run elections. You understand that government doesn't need to be all things to all people; sometimes it simply needs to focus on what is necessary.