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Township Government

What is a Township?

Public service in Ohio is divided into several forms including state, county, municipal and township governments. Local township government addresses issues related to upkeep of public roads, police and fire protection, zoning and maintenance of parks,  cemeteries and some recreational facilities.

These functions of local government are defined by the state legislature and are carried out by local elected officials. There are more than 1,300 townships in the state of Ohio.

Three elected trustees and a fiscal officer direct township government. Each official is elected to a four-year term and serves on a part-time basis. They are compensated for their service based upon salaries set by the State Legislature. Elected officials must live in the community and they devote many hours to determining and addessing the needs of citizens.

Townships do not collect an income tax and instead rely on a portion of property taxes to provide services to residents. Townships can create a Joint Economic Development District, a special district within set geographic boundaries in which property taxes can be collected and then shared with a municipal partner through a negotiated agreement (read more about JEDDs).

 

Limited Self-Government

Limited Self-Government, also called "home rule," gives trustees the authority to adopt legislation that addresses local issues, provided the legislation does not conflict with state laws or a list of specified exceptions.

Without limited self-government, the township's authority is limited to powers specifically granted by the state. As a "home rule" township, trustees may enact resolutions, similar to city ordinances. This gives townships greater independence.

Limited self-government was first made available as an option in Ohio in June 1991 with the signing into law of Substitute House Bill 77. West Chester residents voted in 1999 to become a "home-rule" township.

 

Significant Township Legislation/Resolutions

 

RESOLUTION 54-99: ESTABLISHING A LIMITED HOME RULE GOVERNMENT

RESOLUTION 1991-20: BARKING DOGS

RESOLUTION 18-2010 POLICE: RESCINDING AND ADOPTING NEW REGULATIONS PROHIBITING EXCESSIVE NOISE 

RESOLUTION 06-2011: POLICE: PROHIBITING COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL VEHICLE PARKING