Midwestern and central
Depending on the state, the township government has varying degrees of authority.
In the Upper Midwestern states near the Great Lakes, civil townships (known in Michigan as general law townships and in Wisconsin as towns), are often, but not always, overlaid on survey townships. The degree to which these townships are functioning governmental entities varies from state to state and in some cases even within a state. For example, townships in the northern part of Illinois are active in providing public services — such as road maintenance, after-school care, and senior services — whereas townships in southern Illinois frequently delegate these services to the county. Most townships in Illinois also provide services such as snow removal, senior transportation, and emergency services to households residing in unincorporated parts of the county. The townships in Illinois each have a township board, whose board members were formerly called township trustees, and a single township supervisor. In contrast, civil townships in Indiana are operated in a relatively consistent manner statewide and tend to be well organized, with each served by a single township trustee and a three-member board.
Civil townships in these states are generally not incorporated, and nearby cities may annex land in adjoining townships with relative ease. In Michigan, general law townships are corporate entities (e.g. they can be the subject of lawsuits), and some can become reformulated as charter townships, a status intended to protect against annexation from nearby municipalities and which grants the township some home rule powers similar to cities. In Wisconsin, civil townships are known as "towns" rather than townships, but they function essentially the same as in neighboring states. In Minnesota, state statute refers to such entities as towns yet requires them to have a name in the form "Name Township". In both documents and conversation, "town" and "township" are used interchangeably. Minnesota townships can be either
Non-Urban or Urban (giving the township government greater power), but this is not reflected in the township's name. In Ohio, a city or village is overlaid onto a township unless it withdraws by establishing a paper township. Where the paper township does not extend to the city limits, property owners pay taxes for both the township and municipality, though these overlaps are sometimes overlooked by mistake. Ten other states also allow townships and municipalities to overlap.
In Kansas, some civil townships provide services such as road maintenance and fire protection services not provided by the county.