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Encyclopedia > Political subdivisions of Wisconsin

The definitions of the political subdivisions of the Wisconsin differ from those in certain other countries or even various other U.S. states, leading to misunderstandings regarding the governmental nature of an area. Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries â€¢ Politics Portal      A state of the United States is any one of the fifty subnational entities referred to...


Whether a municipality is a city, village or town is dependent not only on the community's population or area, but in large part on the form of government selected by the residents and approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature. In Wisconsin, local units of general purpose government include counties, cities, villages and towns. There are also a number of special purpose districts formed to handle regional concerns, such as school districts A municipality or general-purpose district (compare with: special-purpose district) is an administrative local area generally composed of a clearly defined territory and commonly referring to a city, town, or village government. ... The city of Chicago, as seen from the sky A city is an urban area that is differentiated from a town, village, or hamlet by size, population density, importance, or legal status. ... A village is a human residential settlement commonly found in rural areas. ... Main street in Bastrop, Texas, a small town A town is a residential community of people ranging from a few hundred to several thousands, although it may be applied loosely even to huge metropolitan areas. ... The Wisconsin State Legislature, based in Madison, is bicameral and is composed of the Wisconsin State Assembly and the Wisconsin State Senate. ... A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. ... School districts are a form of special-purpose district in the United States (amongst some other places) which serves to operate the local public primary and secondary schools. ...

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County

The county is the primary political subdivision of Wisconsin. Wisconsin has seventy-two counties, covering the entire state. Every county has a county seat, often a populous or centrally located city or village, where the government office for the county are located. Within each county are cities, villages and towns. A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. ... A county seat is a term for an administrative center for a county, primarily used in the United States. ...


A Board of Supervisors is the main legislative entity of the county. Supervisors are elected in nonpartisan elections for two-year terms (except in Milwaukee County where they served four years). The type of executive official in each county varies; ten counties have a County Executive elected in a nonpartisan election for a four-year term; ten counties have appointed County Administrators; and 48 have appointed Administrative Coordinators. Other officials include a sheriff, district attorney, clerk, treasurer, coroner, register of deeds and clerk of courts. By 2008, all of these offices state-wide will have four-year terms. In most counties, elected coroners have been replaced by appointed medical examiners. Milwaukee County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ...


Counties are generally responsible for social services, such as child welfare, job training and care of the eldery; and public land management, such as care for parks. Law enforcement and road maintenance are also administered by the county, in conjunction with local municipalities.


City

In Wisconsin, a city is highly autonomous incorporated area within one or more counties. It provides almost all services to its residents and has the highest degree of home rule and taxing jurisdiction over them. The City of Milwaukee, the only "First class city" in the state, has its own special rules apart from all other cities. As of 2005, Wisconsin had 190 cities. The city of Chicago, as seen from the sky A city is an urban area that is differentiated from a town, village, or hamlet by size, population density, importance, or legal status. ... An autonomous (subnational) entity is a subnational entity that has a certain amount of autonomy. ... Residency is a stage of postgraduate medical training in North America which leads to eligibility for board certification in a primary care or referral specialty. ... Nickname: Cream City, Mil Town, Brew City, The City of Festivals Location of Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Coordinates: County Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Area    - City (97 sq. ...


The home rule authority granted to cities allows them to make their own decision about their affairs, administration and a good deal of their public policy, subject to state law. Devolution or Home rule is the pooling of powers from central government to government at regional or local level. ...


Cities are governed by Common Councils consisting of the mayor and elected aldermen. City officers include a mayor, treasurer, clerk, attorney and health officials. Cities may also, by their discretion, have an engineer, comptroller, assesors, street commissioner, constable and a board of public works.


Cities can also elect to hire a city administrator instead of an elected mayor. In cities that have city administrators, oftentimes the head of the common council is referred to as mayor.


Cities in Wisconsin are generally divided into four classes:

  • First class: Cities with 150,000 or more people
  • Second class: Cities with 39,000 to 149,999 people
  • Third class: Cities with 10,000 to 38,999 people
  • Fourth class: Cities with 9,999 people or less

There are exceptions to these classes, however; in order for a city to move from one class to the next, certain governmental changes need to take place and the mayor must publish a proclamation. For these reasons, Madison is still a second class city, Waukesha is still a third class city and several cities with a population of over 10,000 are still fourth class Cities.[1] Nickname: Mad Town or Mad City Location of Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin Municipality City Incorporated 1848 Mayor Dave Cieslewicz Area    - City 136. ... Waukesha is a city located in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. ...


In order to incorporate as a city, a community needs to have at least 1,000 citizens if it is in a rural area or 5,000 if it is in an urban area.


Village

In Wisconsin, a village is an autonomous incorporated area within one or more counties. It provides various service to its residents and has a degree of home rule and taxing jurisdiction over them. As of 2005, Wisconsin had 400 villages. A village is a human residential settlement commonly found in rural areas. ...


The home rule authority granted to villages allows them to make their own decision about their affairs, administration and a good deal of their public policy, subject to state law. Devolution or Home rule is the pooling of powers from central government to government at regional or local level. ...


Villages are governed by a Village President and a Board of Trustees. Village officers include a president, clerk, treasurer and assessor. Villages can also elect to hire a village manager instead of an elected village president.


In order to incorporate as a village, a communitiy must have at least 150 citizens if it is in a rural area or 2,500 if it is in an urban area.


Town

In Wisconsin, a town is a municipality within a county; in this usage, Wisconsin towns are similar to civil townships. All areas in the state which have not been incorporated as a city or village are parts of towns. Towns provide a limited number of services to its residents. The US Census considers Wisconsin towns to be minor civil divisions. As of 2005, Wisconsin had 1,260 towns. A civil township is a widely-used unit of local government in the United States, subordinate to a county. ... Minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau to designate the primary governmental and/or administrative subdivisions of a county, such as a civil township, precinct, or magisterial district. ...


Towns are governed by Town Boards, with the board chairperson at its head. Towns also have a clerk, treasurer and assessor either elected or appointed by the board. In addition, every town must hold an annual town meeting in the beginning of April. At this town meeting, the electors may authorize the town board to take certain actions or change the make up or wages of town supervisors or officers. A town meeting is a meeting where an entire geographic area is invited to participate in a gathering, often for a political or administrative purpose. ...


Towns have less authority than villages and cities; they do not, for instance, have home rule granted to them by the state, but instead only have specific powers granted to them under state statute. At the very minimum, towns maintain their roads and zone land(Though in some locales, counties have control over zoning. Example: Milwaukee County until the final incorporation in the late 1950's). Towns may choose to provide more services however, overlapping with those provided by the county. In most cases, however, towns provide limited services and thus town residents often pay lower taxes than their city or village counterparts.


Towns are often annexed by neighboring cities and villages in whole or in part. Piecemeal annexation has left some rather small towns, such as the Town of Germantown which covers 1.7 square miles, or the Town of Brookfield covering 5.5 square miles. This contrasts with the Town of Winter which covers 279.5 square miles. Most towns are about the size of a survey township, or 36 square miles. The Town of Menominee is unique in that it is coextensive with the County of Menominee, and covers 365 square miles; this is due to its unique history and connection with the Menominee Indian Reservation. Germantown is a village located in Washington County, Wisconsin. ... Brookfield is a town located in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. ... Winter is a town located in Sawyer County, Wisconsin. ... Survey township, sometimes called Congressional township, as used by the United States Public Land Survey System, refers to a square unit of land, that is nominally six (U.S. Survey) miles (~9. ... Menominee is a town located in Menominee County, Wisconsin. ... Menominee County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ... The Menominee Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation located in northeastern Wisconsin for the Menominee. ...


In Wisconsin, survey townships often match up with towns. The survey townships were a result of the 1795 land ordinance and further subdivided in to 36 sections of one square mile each. One section was set aside for sale as the "School Section," which was used to support the schools. This grid system is based on a Point of Beginning (POB) created by surveyor Lucius Lyon in 1831 near Hazel Green, Wisconsin (the Fourth Principal Meridian) and used the Illinois boundary for a baseline. Development based on this grid system can be seen on maps today as the major through streets, such as those in Milwaukee, which line up with boundary intersections. Lyon's POB is observed by a Wisconsin Historical Marker and a reset surveyor's monument. [2] Survey township, sometimes called Congressional township, as used by the United States Public Land Survey System, refers to a square unit of land, that is nominally six (U.S. Survey) miles (~9. ... 1795 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... The Point of Beginning is a surveyors mark on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, just east of East Liverpool, Ohio. ... Lucius Lyon (February 26, 1800–September 24, 1851) was a U.S. statesman from the state of Michigan. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Hazel Green is a village located in Wisconsin. ... Official language(s) English Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 0 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ...


Other named places

There are numerous examples of unincorporated communities throughout the state. These areas have no legal status and are administered by the town or municipality in which they exist. In United States law, a region of land is unincorporated if it is not a part of any municipality. ...


Special purpose units of government

In Wisconsin, special purpose units of government provide specialized services for those who live within the district, and are empowered to tax residents of the district for the services provided in common. Special districts often cross the lines of cities, villages and towns. In 2006, Wisconsin had over 1,100 special districts.[3]


These special units of government are created to solve problems that are regional in nature, and sometimes to get around the limits on debt that each municipality can have. The state can also exert more control on special districts through the governor's appointments to district boards. Politicians also set up some special districts to insulate themselves from the sometimes unpopular taxes these boards levy, since the boards are often appointed and not elected.


School districts

School districts are the most common kind of special district. They provide, arrange or contract for all public education services, including special education and school transportation, the latter also for non-public schools. In 2006, Wisconsin had more than 440 school districts. School districts are a form of special-purpose district in the United States (amongst some other places) which serves to operate the local public primary and secondary schools. ...


School districts are often not precisely coextensive with municipalities that bear the same name, meaning that a person living in one hamlet or village might send their children to a school associated with a different hamlet or village. Residents pay school taxes to the same school district in which they live and their children attend school.


Technical college districts

Wisconsin's sixteen technical college districts levy taxes to fund the Wisconsin Technical College System. These sixteen technical colleges provide occupational training for their residents at a reduced cost. Wisconsin Technical College System is a group of 16 technical college (community colleges) in Wisconsin. ... A blacksmith is a traditional trade. ...


Sports districts

The Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District and the Professional Football Stadium District were created to raise money for the building of Miller Park and Lambeau Field respectively. Miller Park is a baseball stadium located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ... Lambeau Field is the home stadium of the NFLs Green Bay Packers. ...


The baseball district built, operates and manages the stadium used by the Milwaukee Brewers. It financed its activities through the sale of bonds, which it repays through a .1% sales and use tax on goods sold in the district over $10.00. It encompases the counties of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha. Major league affiliations National League (1998–present) Central Division (1998–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 4,19,34,44 Name Milwaukee Brewers (1970–present) Seattle Pilots (1969) Ballpark Miller Park (2001–present) County Stadium (1970-2000) Sicks Stadium (Seattle) (1969) Major league titles World Series titles (0) None NL... Milwaukee County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ... Ozaukee County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ... Racine County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ... Washington County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. ... Waukesha County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ...


The football district issued bonds to renovate the stadium used by the Green Bay Packers. It repays its bonds through a .5% sales tax on goods sold in the district, which is coextensive with Brown County. City Green Bay, Wisconsin Team colors Dark Green, Gold, and White Head Coach Mike McCarthy Owner 111,967 stockholders Chairman Bob Harlan General manager Ted Thompson Fight song Go! You Packers! Go! League/Conference affiliations Independent (1919-1920) National Football League (1921–present) Western Division (1933-1949) National Conference (1950... Brown County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. ...


Other types of special purpose units

  • Sewerage districts: The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District runs the sewerage system for much of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. It receives its funding from property taxes and user fees.
  • Cultural arts districts: The Wisconsin Center District owns and operates the U.S. Cellular Arena, Milwaukee Theatre and the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee. The Madison Cultural Arts District manages the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison.
  • Regional planning commissions
  • Drainage districts
  • Town sanitary districts
  • Mosquito control districts

Main Headquarters The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is a state-chartered government agency which provides wastewater services for 28 municipalities within Milwaukee County and also portions of the surrounding counties. ... The Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha metropolitan area is an urban area that the U.S. Census Bureau defines as a Combined Statistical Area centered around the city of Milwaukee and had a population of roughly 1. ... U.S. Cellular Arena (formerly the Milwaukee Arena, MECCA Arena and Wisconsin Center Arena) is an indoor arena located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ... Midwest Airlines Center The Midwest Airlines Center (formerly Midwest Express Center) is a convention and exhibition center located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ...

Census-designated place

A census-designated place (CDP) is an area defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only, without any legal consequences. In Wisconsin, a CDP is often a part of a town outside any villages. The CDP may cross town and county borders. A CDP cannot be any part of a city or a village, nor can it be the entirety of a town. CDPs usually resemble cities or villages in population density and structure. CDPs were formerly called unincorporated places. A census-designated place (CDP) is an area identified by the United States Census Bureau for statistical reporting. ... The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census as defined in Title ) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce. ...


See also

List of Wisconsin counties: Wisconsin counties Adams County Ashland County Barron County Bayfield County Brown County Buffalo County Burnett County Calumet County Chippewa County Clark County Columbia County Crawford County Dane County Dodge County Door County Douglas County Dunn County Eau Claire County Florence County Fond du Lac County Forest... List of cities in Wisconsin, arranged in alphabetical order. ... List of villages in Wisconsin, arranged in alphabetical order. ... The term town is used in Wisconsin in the same way as the township is used in many other states. ...

External links

  • "Counties, Cities, Villages, Towns: Forms of Local Government and Their Functions" from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
  • "Special Purpose Districts: Types, Powers, and Duties" from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
  • "The Changing World of Wisconsin Local Government" by Susan C. Paddock, from the Wisconsin Blue Book, 1997-98.

 
 

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