Chicago Cities-City, Village, Town: What's The Difference?
Understanding Chicago Suburbs: City, Village, or Town?
Have you ever wondered why some Chicago suburbs go by the names of "villages" or "towns" instead of being called cities outright? Let's delve into the fascinating distinctions.
The labels of "town," "village," or "city" for Chicago suburbs aren't about their population or size but rather their historical incorporation statutes. According to David Bennett, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the choice of terminology depends on the specific state law under which the municipality incorporated.
Towns and Their Unique Status:
Towns are suburbs that came into existence before the 1872 enactment of the Cities and Villages Act, which established clear incorporation standards and guidelines. Cicero, established in 1867, is the only town in the Chicago area. Towns hold a distinct historical status that sets them apart from other suburban designations.
Cities vs. Villages:
The difference between "city" and "village" can be murkier. In certain states like New York, these terms are defined differently, involving various procedures, governance structures, and powers as per state law. However, in Illinois, the distinctions are relatively minor. One of the primary distinctions that remain is that villages must have precisely six trustees, while cities may have six or more aldermen.
In summary, the choice of whether to be called a city, village, or town by Chicago suburbs is rooted in historical factors and the state's legal framework. It's not merely a matter of size or population. Understanding these designations adds an intriguing layer to the diverse tapestry of the Chicago metropolitan area.