Hamburg Township Considers Charter Status
March 7, 2022
By Mike Kruzman / firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials in Hamburg Township are exploring the possibility of pursuing charter status.
Every ten years, following the Census, Michigan’s Secretary of State notifies each township that has a minimum of 2,000 residents and is not chartered the opportunity to become a charter township.
In Livingston County, Boards from Hartland and Tyrone townships recently held very brief discussions during public meetings, expressing desires to stay as general law townships. At last week’s meeting of the Hamburg Township Board, officials help a deeper discussion with their legal counsel on the consideration. Supervisor Pat Hohl said they will talk about this more at April’s strategic planning meeting, and that this was more for information and discussion.
He compared their situation to existing charter townships in the county. Livingston County currently has 3 charter townships, being Brighton, Genoa, and Green Oak. Hohl said that Hamburg actually has more residents, departments, and tax bases as those three.
The township’s attorney discussed the notable differences between a general law township and a charter township. One is that a charter township cannot be annexed by a neighboring community. This was said to not be an issue for Hamburg because of a 1988 Agreement with the City of Brighton that bars them from annexing any part of Hamburg.
Another difference is in the millage rate that can be levied. Hohl said they are basically capped out as they are, and that there is concern that future boards may not be able to raise taxes, if needed. Going charter is believed to open up to a higher millage cap, but more information, particularly around an Attorney General’s opinion on a related lawsuit in Kalamazoo, is being sought. There was discussion on what part voter-elected millages, like police, fire, and road play in counting towards a charter millage.
Townships eligible for chartering have 3 options. They can elect to not pursue chartering, to pursue chartering, or to put it to a vote with residents.
No official action was taken at the meeting.