In Texas we do not divide our counties into townships. Instead we have cities or municipalities that are either incorporated or unincorporated. It can get confusing when different words are used to mean the same thing.
You call it a what?
Other areas of the U.S. also do not have “counties.” In Alaska these areas are known as boroughs, in Louisiana they are called parishes. Around the world counties are called cantons, constituencies, divisions and shires.
Municipalities are also not always called municipalities. Sometimes people will use the term township or city. Depending on the vernacular you may hear an area referred to as a village or borough (such as the five in New York; the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.)
Size doesn’t matter
Municipalities are not size-based. Municipalities in metropolises such as New York City and Los Angeles have millions of residents while the city of Jenkins, Minnesota has a fluctuating 500 or so. Monowi, Nebraska (incorporated) has one resident. Her name is Elsie Eiler. She is 84 and is the mayor, clerk, treasurer, librarian and bartender.
What municipalities do all day
Municipalities are busy places. They need specific services to run effectively. Municipalities are usually in charge of their own:
- Parks and recreation departments
- Police and fire departments
- Housing services
- EMT and emergency medical services
- Municipal courts
- Public transportation
- Public works
- Infrastructure and maintenance
Municipalities get their powers from the state. Most of the time, those in charge of a town or city or municipality (or whatever name you’re using) are elected.