What are the duties of the Township Trustee?


Fire Protection & Emergency Medical Service ~ Poor Relief Assistance ~ Misc. Duties

Indiana Township Trustees

By far the largest single group of elected officials in Indiana, Township Trustees govern 1,008 townships covering every part of the state. Like most elected officials, the Township Trustee serves a four year term. Many Township Trustees work at other jobs in addition to serving their constituents. Assisting the Township Trustee in managing this very localized form of government is a three member Township Board. Among its duties are the adoption of the annual budget, serving as a board of finance, and approving township contracts. Indiana law requires that the Township Trustees provide essential services to the residents and businesses of the Township. Because of its “grassroots” structure, the Township Trustee system is designed specifically to quickly meet the needs of the individual in an emergency.

Fire Protection

Township Trustees are, by Indiana law, charged with the responsibility of providing fire protection an ambulance service for the areas of the township not incorporated into a city or town. The protection can be provided by contracting with various fire departments, operating a Township Fire Department, or a combination of both.

Poor Relief

Overseeing the poor and distributing poor relief is a primary duty in many townships. The trustee is charged to care for the poor by the most economical means available and at the same time is charged to be sure that the necessary needs of an individual or family are met. The applicant must show that they are unable to provide those needs through personal effort and that they have exhausted all other means.

Many trustees creatively cooperate with other agencies and churches in their areas, keeping costs controlled and delivering services needed. The advantage the Trustee’s systems has over other forms of welfare is the freedom to discern whether or not an individual has and is willing to put forth that personal effort to help themselves.

(Title 12 of IN Code)


Each August, the trustee prepares and submits a budget for the incoming year to the three-person township board for approval. As the Chief Financial Officer of the township, the trustee pays and records all claims for the township expenses and salaries and is responsible to keep accurate records and follow all the financial guidelines set out in Indiana Code.

In January of each year, the trustee presents to the board an annual report which shows all receipts, expenditures, investments and debts. The approved report is then published on  https://gateway.ifionline.org/ for public record.

~This information was provided by the Indiana Township Association~