Defining ‘Town’

Welcome to the Notes from the Grove, providing Liberty Grove residents and visitors tid bits of information about goings on in town government.

• The Shred Fest and Appliance Recycling held June 2 was again a success; 112 people come through the recycle line and some of them came more than once. Approximately three semi loads of computers and appliances were processed. The next date will be October 20 from 9 am – 1 pm with both shredding and recycling done at the Liberty Grove Town Hall.

Shredding this spring was done at Sister Bay.

• Occasionally someone will refer to Liberty Grove as a Township. In Wisconsin the term Township is not used in describing a local unit of government. Wisconsin has, by statute, provided for four levels of local government: counties, cities, villages and towns.

The county is the primary political subdivision of Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, a town is an unincorporated jurisdiction within a county. Cities and villages, however, are incorporated autonomous areas within a county or in some cases counties. All areas in the state that have not been incorporated as cities or villages are parts of towns. There are over 1,200 towns in Wisconsin. Towns provide a limited number of services to their residents.

In the case of towns that have adopted village powers they provide additional authority such as establishing a plan commission to engage in master/comprehensive planning; a town zoning ordinance; “police powers” for the regulation of public health, safety and welfare. In the case of towns, the town board needs the electorate to approve the purchase of property.

There are numerous unincorporated communities throughout the state such as Ellison Bay, Gills Rock, etc. These areas have no legal status and are administered by the town or municipality in which they exist.

Liberty Grove, like many towns and some villages, belongs to the Wisconsin Towns Association with an office in Shawano. The purpose of the association is to support local control of government and protect the interests of towns. This includes legal counsel, zoning, board of review (taxes), budgeting and assistance with implementing and understanding state statutes as they apply to towns.

Information about towns and the role of the Wisconsin Towns Association may be found on the web at

• A reminder that the Grand View Park in Ellison Bay will be dedicated on June 23 at 4 pm during Old Ellison Bay Days.