The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us) STATE OF MICHIGAN
JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM, ATTORNEY GENERAL
Status of township park commission following incorporation as charter township
Dissolution of township park commission
A voter-established township park commission created in a general law township continues in existence following the township's incorporation as a charter township.
A voter-established township park commission may not be dissolved by resolution of the charter township board or by vote of township electors following the township's incorporation as a charter township.
Opinion No. 7039
December 9, 1999
Honorable David C. Mead
Lansing, MI 48909
You have asked two questions regarding voter-established township park commissions.
Your first question asks whether a voter-established township park commission created in a general law township continues in existence following the township's incorporation as a charter township.
The township parks act, 1905 PA 157, MCL 41.421 et seq; MSA 5.2441 et seq, provides for the acquisition, management and control of township parks and for the creation of a township park commission.1 A township park commission is established by vote of township electors. Section 6. It is authorized to acquire, manage, and control township parks and places of recreation. Section 6a. Compensation of commission members is fixed by the township board. Section 6b. The commission's budget is subject to approval by the township board. Section 6c.2 Nothing contained in the township parks act, however, addresses the continuing status of a township park commission following incorporation of the township as a charter township.
The charter township act, 1947 PA 359, MCL 42.1 et seq; MSA 5.46(1) et seq, authorizes the incorporation of charter townships and prescribes their powers and functions. Charter townships have, except as otherwise provided in the act, "all the powers, privileges, immunities, and liabilities possessed by a township . . . by law and under chapter 16 of the Revised Statutes of 1846." Section 1(2). Charter townships are empowered to acquire property for public purposes and to maintain and operate "public buildings, parks, and facilities." Section 14. A charter township succeeds to all property belonging to the township as it formerly existed. Section 32.
The charter township act, however, includes no provisions for the dissolution or elimination of existing township park commissions. On the contrary, section 2 of the charter township act expressly preserves the offices of all elected township officers following the incorporation of a general law township as a charter township:
STATE OF MICHIGAN
All officers of any township which shall elect to become a charter township shall serve in the offices to which they have been elected . . . for the balance of the terms for which they were elected . . . and until their successors elect or to be elected shall qualify for and assume their respective offices.
1 Historically, township park commissions were established by vote of township electors pursuant to 1931 PA 271, MCL 41.441; MSA 5.271. When 1931 PA 271 was repealed by 1989 PA 79, its provisions were essentially transferred to sections 6 and 6a-6f of the township parks act.
2 The operations of a township park commission and its relationship to a township board are described in OAG, 1979-1980, No 5670, p 668 (March 18, 1980), and OAG, 1981-1982, No 5892, p 163 (May 7, 1981).
3 OAG, 1985-1986, No 6342, p 226 (February 6, 1986).
4 OAG, 1985-1986, No 6411, p 444, 446 (December 19, 1986).
5 OAG, 1997-1998, No 7003, p 214, 216-218 (December 23, 1998).