The Northern Town Board feels that our Township has grown to a size and is carrying out enough municipal type functions that it is time to look at taking steps to formally becoming a city. This process is called incorporation.
On November 2, 2022 the Northern Town Board held 2 separate meetings to allow all residents of the Northern Township the opportunity to hear a presentation on why the Board would like to pursue this option and to get the resident’s feedback. After the meetings, residents were given the opportunity to write their thoughts on sheets handed out or submit them directly to the Town Board via email, letter, phone, etc. The result was an overwhelming consensus that the residents favored pursuing incorporation.
A recording of one the meetings can be found here.
Here is a summary of the information that was presented.
- We want to be in control of our own future
- Ability to determine where and how we grow
- Solidify our current land and tax base
- Create stability to help with long-term investments to improve services to the community
- Already provide many typical city services to our residents
- We are a big Township (4500+ residents) and would be in top 20% of cities in the state for population
- Access to new avenues of funding as a city
- Local Government Aid (LGA) Certification for Cities
- Municipal State Aid (MSA) program
- Public Meeting to determine if we proceed
- Town Board passes a resolution
- Notify neighboring municipalities and ask for support
- Gather necessary documents: legal, finance, and planning
- Administrative judge holds a public hearing at Town Hall
- Judge writes opinion and gives decision for our case
- If successful, an election would be held and new Mayor and City Council are sworn in
- Entire process would likely take 1-2 years
What Are the Anticipated Changes?
- Mayor and council would replace current Township Board supervisors.
- Special election would determine council, not current board members.
- City clerk position/assistant (not a large city staff)
- Possible public works (sewer/water) staff person?
What Would Stay the Same?
- Most everything
- Wouldn’t anticipate a tax increase due to incorporation. Same services but with more access to funding.
- Law enforcement through County Sheriff
- Still remain a part of the Rural Fire Association
- Road maintenance
- Planning/Zoning Person (already funded by JPB funds)
Chances of Success?
- Many reasons to be optimistic
- We already provide all the necessary services
- Have a large population for Townships
- Have a good fiscal history and over $1 million budget
- Two most recent townships to incorporate had very similar situations
- Credit River 2021
- Empire 2022