Every state is different. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations for how michigan municipalities are governed, organized, and taxed. To help Michigan residents understand the specific rules that govern their communities, we’ve added a few easy guidelines to help you out.
1) In michigan municipalities are separate from counties.
This is one of michigan municipalities most extensive unique features since most other states do not have this distinction. Even though it may seem obvious to some residents, it is a significant distinction for others who need to understand how different the two are. Municipalities are the cities, towns, villages, and other extraordinary communities that select their leaders and establish municipal laws and regulations. They have separate budgets and raise their taxes.
Counties in Michigan are the governing bodies providing local support for several municipalities in a specified area. The county government may be responsible for collecting property taxes from its residents. Still, it does not have the power to create laws or regulations on issues outside its borders. Also, county governments do not rate citizens with a personal income tax like cities can.
2) Michigan is unique in that most of its communities operate under types of business organizations known as home rule charters.
These are city, town and village governments that choose to be organized as a corporation (or municipal corporation). Government business is conducted within the boundaries of statutory laws like the ones that govern all corporations. Still, there are other types of charters in michigan municipalities (which we’ll get into later), but home rule municipalities define the Michigan municipal system.
Under the home rule charter, communities are self-governing and can make their own rules as long as they adhere to state laws and constitutional requirements. They establish their budgets without interference from the state, and if they make an unpopular policy decision, there is no one in Lansing or Washington to overrule them.
3) Michigan Water Authorities (MWAs) are the national model that Michigan municipalities use.
The Michigan MWA program provides local governments with the tools to ensure efficient management of water resources, an essential part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Every municipality in Michigan allow you to establish a water authority by getting voter approval for an amendment to their home rule charter. These bodies have common goals and responsibilities, including the management and protection of natural resources, but also have distinct roles in the water community.
They may be responsible for approving or reviewing applications for surface water withdrawal permits, which allow water companies to take large amounts of surface water from streams for their projects and recycling and watershed protection programs. To qualify as an MWA, a michigan municipalities must provide First Nations tribes with a voice in their governing bodies.
4) Charter cities are cities that choose to operate as michigan municipalities corporations, just like home rule charters.
However, they do not operate under a home rule charter. Instead, they are chartered by the state and are required to follow all of the basic rules of municipal corporations. This may include a chief executive (mayor), the number of council members, and their election process. This system is very similar to county government since most cities in Michigan operate under this type of government. Charter governments must follow several laws and procedures enforced by the state, including certain limitations on raising taxes and property values for local municipalities.
5) No state laws dictate the number of council members in a municipality.
Michigan’s home rule charters allow for governing bodies as small as five or six members, up to nine council members. However, since many Michigan municipalities have fewer than 16,000 residents, it is not uncommon for these communities to have only one council member. In addition, many Michigan cities and towns do not have separate councils for each ward (each geographical area within the city or town) but instead operate the same way as home rule municipalities.
6) Michigan has an unusual system known as a commission form of government.
In most cases, when residents imagine what their city or town government looks like. They picture elected officials making critical decisions from the comfort of a council chamber. However, in michigan municipalities cities and towns that opt for the commission form of government. The council members rarely meet for formal discussions about policies and politics. Instead, the elected mayor (or chief administrative officer) is responsible for running all aspects of local government. With only limited oversight from council members. This may be good news for some communities mired in political controversy (including Flint). But it does not allow for much power by residents to make policy decisions.
7) Michigan communities can decide to operate by a council-manager form of government.
The elected city council (or town board) is responsible for legislative and policy decisions in this system. Then, the appointed city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of local government and carries out most tasks like approving budgets and pay raises for public employees. Although many michigan municipalities cities use this form of government. It has gained more traction in recent years to reduce the number of municipal employees. While providing a singular point of contact for residents with questions or concerns.