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Legislature > House of Representatives > House Research > Data & Tools > MN Gov't in Brief

Cities and Towns

Counties, cities, and towns represent the three kinds of general purpose local units of government in Minnesota. Minnesota has about 3,287 local government units in total.

Cities

There are 853 cities in Minnesota, which are either statutory cities or home rule charter cities.

  • Statutory Cities (746) are organized and operate under the options provided in the statutory city code and other laws.
  • Home Rule Charter Cities (107) are organized and operate under their individual charters and other laws.

City boundaries may cross county lines. There are presently 46 cities whose boundaries extend into more than one county.

Cities are also classified based on population as a way for the legislature to provide powers or impose duties as appropriate to cities of a certain size.

Towns

There are 1,785 towns in Minnesota.

  • Hold annual town meetings at which the electors exercise powers granted in law, such as setting the levy.
  • Governed by a three- or five-member elected board of supervisors.
  • May exercise "urban" town powers if population is at least 1,000 or within 20 miles of Minneapolis or St. Paul city hall.

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January 2017

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