Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- General Law Village
Where can I find the text of the General Law Village Act (1895 PA 3)
here to view the Act on the Michigan
Legislature's Web Site.
The elected treasurer in our general law village often takes materials
home for long periods of time – records, tax documents, etc.
Does this happen in any other village and how is it handled?
We don’t know how other villages handle this when their part-time
officials sometimes work at home, which appears to be the situation here.
There are some issues that merit consideration. The books and other records
need to be made available to others, including the village president
who is charged with supervision over the affairs of the village (see
section 64.1of the General Law Village Act). Many of the records are
subject to freedom of information requests as well and need to be available
for compliance with statutory requirements in fulfilling such requests.
Another consideration is safekeeping procedures for the records. We'd
be interested in solutions used by other villages.
We are a general law village. Can our treasurer appoint her own deputy?
County and township officials tell us they can appoint a deputy to
act on their behalf without council action.
Counties and townships operate under different public acts than villages.
62.2 of the General Law Village Act (PA 3 of 1895, revised) states, “The
president may nominate and the council appoint such officers as shall
be provided for by resolution or ordinance of the council.” A
deputy clerk or treasurer may only be appointed by council, not by
the clerk or treasurer. The council should also specify the length
of service, duties, and pay, if any, for the position when they create
the position. However, there is no reason the clerk cannot make a recommendation.
If your village has a manager, the manager may have been given this
If a president pro-tem is not working out, can the president of a General
Law Village appoint someone else?
Law Village Charter, MCL 65.3 states that “the council
shall appoint 1 of their number president pro tempore of the council.” In
other words, no.
Can our general law village become a fifth class city? If it becomes
a city will the residents have to continue paying township property
The Home Rule Cities Act states “any incorporated village having
a population of more than 750 and less than 2,000 inhabitants. . . may
incorporate under the provisions of this act as cities of the fifth class.” If
your village is also the county seat, it may incorporate as a fifth class
city regardless of population and if it lies in two townships, the minimum
population is 600. (Section
7, PA 279 of 1909, as amended, MCL 117.7)
Basically, a village remains part of the township with the villagers
participating in township affairs and paying township taxes (in addition
to their own village taxes). Incorporation as a city, however, removes
an area from township government and from the township’s tax rolls.
The new city must assess its own property, collect taxes for itself,
the county and the school districts, and administer city, county, state
and national elections. Impact
of Changing from a Village to a City discusses
all the issues involved.
Our general law village is considering reducing the number of trustees
to five (four plus the president). Do you have any samples for reducing
the number of council members?
As always, you should check with your village attorney to make sure any
sample ordinances conform with your specific circumstances and other
is a sample on our web site. Hope you find it useful.
What are the consequences if, on March 1 of the year following the year
in which taxes are levied, an elected officer is delinquent in payment
of property taxes as defined by the amendments to the General Law Village
According to MCL
62.7 and MCL
62.11, the office shall be declared vacated.
The Act also sets out the method of appointing a new trustee to fill
the vacancy. We also have a One-Pager
Plus on our web site you might find
We heard the position of assessor was eliminated in a general law village.
Is this true?
Yes, the 1998 revision of the GLV
Act eliminated the tax assessor position.
The duties previously assigned to the assessor were transferred to
the treasurer. However, MCL
62.2 gives the village council the authority
to create the position of tax assessor (or any other office) by ordinance
or resolution and prescribe the powers and duties of the office.
The president and several members of the council of our general law village
are at odds over a particular issue. If three council members call
a special meeting, does the president have to attend and conduct the
meeting? What happens if the president refuses to conduct the meeting,
or walks out during the middle of it?
There are no special requirements for attendance at special meetings
for either the president or any trustee. The General Law Village Act
64.4) does state that in the absence or disability of the president,
the president pro tempore of the council shall perform the duties of
the president. So, if the president does not attend or walks out of
the meeting, the president pro tempore presides.
We have a vacancy on the council of our general law village. Do we have
to have a special election because it is almost two full years until
our next election?
The General Law Village Act (1895
PA 3, MCL 62.13) states that “Any
vacancy occurring in the office of president, trustee or any other elective
office shall be filled by appointment by the council, and the appointee
shall hold office until the next regular village election.” According
to the Bureau of Elections, you will need to list this position on the
ballot at the next election for a special two-year term if it would not
have been on the ballot anyway.
With summer vacations coming up, I need to make certain I understand
the number of votes required to conduct business in our general law
62.1 of the General Law Village Act (1895 PA 3) requires that “In
all votes for which not less than a majority vote of council is required,
the calculation of the number of votes required shall be based on the
maximum number that constitutes council.” Therefore, if there are
seven trustees on your council, four affirmative votes are required to
pass a motion requiring a simple majority and five affirmative votes
are required to pass items calling for a 2/3 majority. Three members
cannot pass a motion even though they are a majority of those present
and voting. If your village has reduced the number on council to five,
a simple majority is three and a 2/3 majority is four. MCL
quorum as four if the council has seven members and three if your village
has reduced the number of council members to five.
The compensation ordinance for our general law village allows the council
to adjust the compensation for trustees by resolution. Are there publication
requirements for a resolution?
Can a president of a general law village make a motion?
The president is a full voting member of council and is not prohibited
from making a motion. However, he/she should be prudent about doing
so and only if allowed by locally adopted council rules. Many require
the president to pass the gavel to the president pro tempore before
Top of page