Section 29. Towns must have limited and contiguous territory and continuous boundaries. The legislature may extend the limits of a town, and include additional land and people, with or without the consent of the people to be affected by it.7 It is sometimes provided that boundary lines of towns may be changed upon petition and submission of the proposition to a vote of the inhabitants thereof; in some States commissioners are appointed to alter boundaries and in other states, the county courts have authority within their respective counties to divide townships into two or more parts so as to suit the convenience of the inhabitants thereof.

In the division or annexation of towns, the legislature usually provides for an equitable apportionment of the corporate property, debts and obligations.8


Section 30. Towns and townships have no common law powers, but act only through legislative enactment. The statutes of the various states provide for the creation, organization and regulation of townships, which are recognized as agencies of the states possessing such powers and functions only, as are provided by statute.

Townships are governed by boards of supervisors or trustees, who are elected annually, and their powers and functions are prescribed by statute.9

7 Town of Cicero vs. City of Chicago 182 III., 301. The Revised Statutes of III., 1874, p. 1069, contain the following provision: "Art. 3, Par. 1.-The county board of each county shall have full and complete power and jurisdiction to alter the boundaries of towns, to change town lines, and to divide, enlarge and to create new towns in their respective counties, to suit the convenience of the inhabitants residing therein; but no new town shall be created, under the provisions of this act, of less territory than seventeen square miles. ' 8 The People vs. The Town of Oram, 121 III., 650.

Some of the miscellaneous powers conferred on towns are viz.:

First. Power to sue and be sued. This power is limited to the enforcement of their corporate rights and liabilities.

Second. Certain police powers, which are derived from statutory law or from their charters, enabling them to make regulations, ordinances, or by-laws for their own government.

Third. A town has limited powers over the inhabitants and property within its territory, but such powers must be exercised in the manner prescribed by statute.

Fourth. They may construct and maintain a system of waterworks for the use and benefit of residents and property owners within their limits.

Fifth. They may borrow money necessary for a discharge of their legal liabilities.

Sixth. They may purchase sites and erect buildings thereon for town purposes.

Seventh. They may pass ordinances and provide for their enforcement.10