Association of Townships Officials
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Adams County, Pennsylvania
Association of Township Officials

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Township residents elect supervisors to carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of improving their community. Township supervisors reflect the values of the people they serve. By design, the structure of township government is flexible. It allows supervisors to determine what services best meet the needs of their constituents. The board of supervisors is directly accessible to residents with no layers of bureaucracy in between. A board of three or five supervisors, elected at large for six-year terms, governs each township. As the township’s legislative body, this board enacts ordinances, adopts budgets, and levies taxes. Because there is no separately elected executive, except in some home rule townships, the supervisors also perform such functions as enforcing ordinances, approving expenditures, and hiring employees. Townships are the oldest form of organized government in the United States. Years ago, township supervisors were mainly in charge of maintaining roads and bridges. Today, their role has expanded to include public safety, land use, and environmental protection, among many other responsibilities. And as state and federal mandates increase, these public servants assume an ever greater role in meeting these demands while providing needed services and facilities for their residents. The township is the oldest form of government in the United States. Pennsylvania has 1,454 townships. Townships cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land area. Townships are home to more than 5.5 million citizens in the Keystone State. That's 44 percent of the state’s population. Diversity is the name of the game for Pennsylvania’s townships. They range from rural communities with fewer than 200 residents to suburban communities of more than 60,000 residents.