Barrington Township

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Barrington Township, located in Cook County, Illinois, USA, is among the 29 townships within the county. As of the 2020 census, its population stood at 16,514, accommodating 6,172 housing units. Situated in the northwestern corner of the Cook County panhandle, it holds the distinction of being the county's northwesternmost township. Notably, it boasts the lowest population density in the county, with less than half the density of the next least populated township, Lemont Township.

The township derives its name from the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Geographically, Barrington Township covers a land area of 36.0 square miles (93.3 km2), with 34.8 square miles (90.2 km2) being land and 1.2 square miles (3.0 km2) (3.26 percent) comprising water bodies.

Within its borders lie the towns of Barrington (mostly), Barrington Hills (southern three-quarters), parts of East Dundee and Hoffman Estates, the western quarter of Inverness, and South Barrington. Additionally, it includes unincorporated towns such as Barrington Center, Middlebury, and Sutton.

Illinois Township System

Out of Illinois's 102 counties, 84 are structured into civil townships, commonly referred to as "townships" in state law. In total, there are 1,428 such townships, making them the predominant type of local government unit in the state.

Each township is legally named in the format "___ Township" or "Town of ____". State law mandates that no two townships in Illinois can share the same name. If the Illinois Secretary of State identifies a duplicate township name during comparisons of township abstracts, the county that most recently adopted the name must select a different one at the subsequent county board meeting. However, despite this regulation, numerous township names remain duplicated in Illinois.

History of Townships

Historically, local government affairs in the Illinois Territory and after the state's 1818 admission were primarily overseen by counties, though towns and villages also existed. Chicago became the state's inaugural city upon its charter in 1837. The 1848 Illinois Constitution granted county voters the authority to divide their counties into townships.

Variations of Townships

Cook County is divided into townships except for Chicago, where voters opted to eliminate the eight townships within the city in 1902. Additionally, 17 counties lack township government altogether, instead being divided into precincts. Precincts, unlike townships, do not possess independent functions; all administrative responsibilities are managed by the county.

Organization and Designation

Township operations in Illinois are primarily governed by the Township Code (60 ILCS 1). Counties have the option to adopt or discontinue the township form of government. Township names are chosen in accordance with the desires of the inhabitants. If unanimity regarding the name is lacking, commissioners dividing the county into townships may choose the name. Moreover, if the county board receives a petition from a majority of the township's voters, it may change the township's name.

Each township is governed by an elected board comprising a supervisor and four trustees. Special provisions exist for the automatic creation of townships in cities or villages where township organization is chosen for the county but some territory remains unorganized. Furthermore, townships may be consolidated to cover the entirety of a city's territory across multiple townships or may be designated as "coterminous," aligning with a city's borders and allowing the city council to act as the township board in most circumstances.

Powers of The Township

The Township Code (60 ILCS 1/85-13) outlines various general services on which townships are permitted to expend funds, including public safety, environmental protection, public transportation, health, recreation, libraries, social services for the impoverished and elderly, and business and tourism development within the township. Other sections of the code authorize townships to provide additional services such as cemeteries, comfort stations, community buildings, hospitals, monuments, open spaces, parks, facilities for the developmentally disabled, and the disposal of brush and leaves. With approval via referendum, townships may also offer water and sewer services as well as general waste collection.

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