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Author Topic: County seats that aren't town seats (?)  (Read 1604 times)

empirestate

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County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« on: March 09, 2019, 12:33:04 PM »

This might be a little bit too niche to go very far, but let's see…

So we know that, among those counties that have county seats, Lansing, MI is the only state capital that isn't the seat of the county it's in. (It's in Ingham County, whose seat is at Mason.) But how often does this happen at the municipal level—i.e., one tier of government lower? In those states that have minor civil divisions like towns or townships, where are there county seats that aren't also the seat of the municipal government?

An example is the town of Carmel, NY, in Putnam County. The county seat is located in the hamlet of Carmel, in the town of the same name. But the municipal government for the town of Carmel is located in the hamlet of Mahopac. So the seat of Putnam County isn't also the seat of the town it's located in.

Another example, also in NY, could be Nassau County. Its seat is located in Mineola, a village in the town of North Hempstead, but the town offices are in Manhasset. (Of course, the actual offices of Nassau County are in Garden City—in the town of Hempstead, whose "seat" is the village of Hempstead.)

Now, there are a limited number of places where this could even apply; for one thing, while the New England states all have towns, several of them don't have county seats. And of course, many states have no areal sub-county governments to begin with, while others may have local governments that are rudimentary, or whose offices aren't located in any place definable as a "seat". But hey, at least we might get a list of 5 or 6 places in New York or, like, Wisconsin. :colorful:
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 02:45:23 PM »

Doesn’t  happen in Illinois as there’s no such thing as a town seat in the state.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 06:10:42 PM »

Nothing like that in Michigan.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2019, 07:14:02 PM »

The hell is a town seat?
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2019, 08:04:59 PM »

The hell is a town seat?

Where the town offices are located. This would only matter in New England if there was a county seat that was a village instead of a town, and as far as I know, there aren't any.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2019, 08:35:39 PM »

No known examples of County Seats that are not Town Seats in California though.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2019, 09:27:26 PM »

The hell is a town seat?

Where the town offices are located. This would only matter in New England if there was a county seat that was a village instead of a town, and as far as I know, there aren't any.
Would that not just be the town center?
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2019, 09:37:15 PM »

Washington barely has townships (only appearing in legal documents, for the most part), let alone town seats.

Towns are just a lesser category under the umbrella of city classifications (code / first class / second class / third class).

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2019, 10:04:12 PM »

The question is what county seats are in unincorporated places.  Toms River, NJ comes to mind as that for years was unincorporated in Dover Township, but the seat of Ocean County, NJ; but I believe Dover Township offices were also in Toms River.  Now it does not matter as Dover is now called Toms River Township so its iffy to say Toms River is unincorporated.

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2019, 10:05:20 PM »

The hell is a town seat?

Where the town offices are located. This would only matter in New England if there was a county seat that was a village instead of a town, and as far as I know, there aren't any.
I don't know how New England does their villages but in Michigan a village remains a part of the township that it was formed in. There are some county seats that are villages though. There are only about 5 counties or so that have villages as county seats. Leelanau County has a township as it's county seat it replaced Leland as the county seat which is an unincorporated community because the new seat is closer to the geographic center of the county. If we're so into that I guess we should make St. Charles the seat of Saginaw County.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2019, 10:35:27 PM »

Does New England even DO villages?  I can't find anything marked as such in my New England atlas outside of VT and the pieces of NY that happen to be on a page.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2019, 10:39:35 PM »

Does New England even DO villages?  I can't find anything marked as such in my New England atlas outside of VT and the pieces of NY that happen to be on a page.

MA, CT, and RI do, but they're informal. They sometimes have their own ZIP codes, though.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2019, 10:55:58 PM »

Does New England even DO villages?  I can't find anything marked as such in my New England atlas outside of VT and the pieces of NY that happen to be on a page.
When I think of a village I just think of a small group of houses in the middle of nowhere.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2019, 11:08:25 PM »

Does New England even DO villages?  I can't find anything marked as such in my New England atlas outside of VT and the pieces of NY that happen to be on a page.
Millers Falls, MA is an example of one.  Leeds and Florence may be as well.
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empirestate

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2019, 12:13:34 AM »

Doesn’t  happen in Illinois as there’s no such thing as a town seat in the state.

It would be township seat in Illinois—whatever the general purpose local government unit is for your state.

Nothing like that in Michigan.

Why is that? Are all of the county seats incorporated? Or are there just none that don't coincide with a township government?

The hell is a town seat?

The seat of government for a town, as described in the original post. Strictly speaking, where its legislative body sits.

No known examples of County Seats that are not Town Seats in California though.

Towns in California are not county subdivisions, so they wouldn't have places inside them to be considered "seats".

Would that not just be the town center?

Not necessarily. For example, the town board of Sweden, NY sits at the town hall in Brockport, not in Sweden Center.

Washington barely has townships (only appearing in legal documents, for the most part), let alone town seats.

Washington has survey townships, a cadastral division of land. Do they also have an obscure civil type of township?

The question is what county seats are in unincorporated places.

No, because in my example, both places are unincorporated. The seat of the town of Carmel could just as well be in the hamlet of Carmel as in the hamlet of Mahopac. And in my second example, the county seat is an incorporated place. So the question isn't that.

Quote
Toms River, NJ comes to mind as that for years was unincorporated in Dover Township, but the seat of Ocean County, NJ; but I believe Dover Township offices were also in Toms River.  Now it does not matter as Dover is now called Toms River Township so its iffy to say Toms River is unincorporated.

If the township and the county both have their seat at Toms River, then on the contrary, this is not an example at all.

Does New England even DO villages?  I can't find anything marked as such in my New England atlas outside of VT and the pieces of NY that happen to be on a page.

Yes—as you say, Vermont has them. Elsewhere, "village" refers to the more thickly settled areas, the population centers within the various towns.
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Brandon

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2019, 01:12:58 AM »

There really is no township seat in Illinois.  The most a township really has is a garage for maintenance in most places.  Otherwise, the county and the municipality are the basic units of government.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2019, 03:10:30 AM »

In Wisconsin villages are separately incorporated from townships, which by definition are unincorporated. So villages cannot be the seat of town government.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2019, 05:54:34 AM »

This is what I’ve come up with for New York:

Madison County
• County seat is the Village of Wampsville, in the Town of Lenox.
• Town of Lenox offices are in the (larger) Village of Canastota.

Otsego County
• County seat is the Village of Cooperstown, mostly (including county offices) in the Town of Otsego, small part in the Town of Middlefield.
• Town of Otsego offices are in the hamlet of Fly Creek.

Saratoga County
• County seat is the Village of Ballston Spa, about evenly divided between the Towns of Ballston and Milton, county offices in both parts.
• Town of Ballston offices are in a rural area several miles from village, but with a “Ballston Spa” mailing address.
• Town of Milton offices are in the hamlet of Milton.

Tioga County
• County Seat is the Village of Owego, in the Town of Owego.
• Town of Owego offices are in the hamlet of Apalachin.

Marginal case: Hamilton County
• County seat is the (tiny) hamlet of Lake Pleasant, in the Town of Lake Pleasant.
• Town of Lake Pleasant offices are about a mile outside of what might be considered the hamlet (which, of course, has no exact boundaries).
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1995hoo

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2019, 09:54:22 AM »

In Virginia, a "town" is legally part of the surrounding county, while an independent city is separate from the county and does not have the same legal status as a town. Some county seats are located outside the counties in adjacent independent cities (Albemarle County's is in Charlottesville, for example). Some county seats are located in towns (Loudoun County's is Leesburg). I suppose you might argue that to the extent some of a town's government comes from the county in which it's located, the only Virginia towns that are fully "town seats" are those that are also county seats, but I think that's too much of a technicality because the better way to view it is whether the town's own government (to the extent such exists under state law) is located within the town. Insofar as I'm aware, they all are.
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Flint1979

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2019, 10:54:30 AM »

Doesn’t  happen in Illinois as there’s no such thing as a town seat in the state.

It would be township seat in Illinois—whatever the general purpose local government unit is for your state.

Nothing like that in Michigan.

Why is that? Are all of the county seats incorporated? Or are there just none that don't coincide with a township government?

The hell is a town seat?

The seat of government for a town, as described in the original post. Strictly speaking, where its legislative body sits.

No known examples of County Seats that are not Town Seats in California though.

Towns in California are not county subdivisions, so they wouldn't have places inside them to be considered "seats".

Would that not just be the town center?

Not necessarily. For example, the town board of Sweden, NY sits at the town hall in Brockport, not in Sweden Center.

Washington barely has townships (only appearing in legal documents, for the most part), let alone town seats.

Washington has survey townships, a cadastral division of land. Do they also have an obscure civil type of township?

The question is what county seats are in unincorporated places.

No, because in my example, both places are unincorporated. The seat of the town of Carmel could just as well be in the hamlet of Carmel as in the hamlet of Mahopac. And in my second example, the county seat is an incorporated place. So the question isn't that.

Quote
Toms River, NJ comes to mind as that for years was unincorporated in Dover Township, but the seat of Ocean County, NJ; but I believe Dover Township offices were also in Toms River.  Now it does not matter as Dover is now called Toms River Township so its iffy to say Toms River is unincorporated.

If the township and the county both have their seat at Toms River, then on the contrary, this is not an example at all.

Does New England even DO villages?  I can't find anything marked as such in my New England atlas outside of VT and the pieces of NY that happen to be on a page.

Yes—as you say, Vermont has them. Elsewhere, "village" refers to the more thickly settled areas, the population centers within the various towns.
For your comment about Michigan, whatever the county seat is that is where the courthouse, jail and everything like that is; the same city has their own city hall or township hall elsewhere. Like Saginaw County, the courthouse and jail are in the same place, the courthouse is at 111 S. Michigan and the jail is at 208 S. Harrison but it's the same complex. Saginaw's city hall however is at 1315 S. Washington about a mile and a half away.

I guess you could say Wayne County has their courthouse and city hall in the same building but they aren't combined together.

Ingham County's seat is Mason but there are several county offices in Lansing, the state capital which is much larger than Mason.
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Avalanchez71

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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2019, 11:28:52 AM »

Washington barely has townships (only appearing in legal documents, for the most part), let alone town seats.

Towns are just a lesser category under the umbrella of city classifications (code / first class / second class / third class).

My guess is that a township in WA is merely a division of the county for deed book purposes.  This is the case in NC.  I know one county in TN calls it's civil divisions a township.  A civil division in TN is just merely a division of the county for deed book purposes only.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2019, 01:50:19 PM »

Kentucky has three forms of local government -- counties, which are created by the state; incorporated cities (commonly called towns, although unofficially such), which are created by more or less by the residents and can be dissolved by vote of the populace; and merged city-county governments, of which there are two in Kentucky.

I would have to do some research, but it's my understanding that at least for a time, at least one county of Kentucky had no incorporated cities within its boundary, which meant the county seat was not in a "town" but rather in a recognized named community.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 08:28:13 PM by hbelkins »
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2019, 04:20:14 PM »

An obvious example to me is New York City, in which the five boroughs are in separate counties but there is only one City Hall (which I assume is in Manhattan). The other four boroughs would fall in this category.
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2019, 04:33:57 PM »

There are some low-population counties out west where the seat isn't in an incorporated place. For example: Esmeralda, Lincoln, and Nye County in Nevada all have a county seat that is simply an unincorporated community and also a CDP. So technically, there is no lower-order government seat located in the county seat.

(side note: Lincoln is fascinating because there is one incorporated city, but it's not the county seat!)
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Re: County seats that aren't town seats (?)
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2019, 06:41:50 PM »

There are some low-population counties out west where the seat isn't in an incorporated place. For example: Esmeralda, Lincoln, and Nye County in Nevada all have a county seat that is simply an unincorporated community and also a CDP. So technically, there is no lower-order government seat located in the county seat.

(side note: Lincoln is fascinating because there is one incorporated city, but it's not the county seat!)

Not just the low-population counties. Hawaii has no local governments below the county level, so all its county seats are in unincorporated communities, even the City and County of Honolulu which has a population just under a million, which is about two-thirds of the state's population.

Alaska has several consolidated city-boroughs, including for high-population boroughs (Anchorage, Juneau) and very low-population boroughs (Yakutat, Skagway), which do not include any separately-incorporated communities. Lake and Peninsula Borough has several tiny cities, but its borough seat is not only unincorporated, but isn't even in its own borough. It's in neighboring Bristol Bay Borough, which has no incorporated communities, and its own borough seat (Naknek) is in a different unincorporated community than Lake and Peninsula's seat (King Salmon). Then there's the vast Unorganized Borough, which has no borough seat or government separate from the state government, but includes more than a dozen incorporated communities like Nome, Bethel, and Valdez, plus some native communities with their own local governments.
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