Illinoisplanner's recent post on "annoying unincorporated places" got me thinking about just how much local governmental structure varies on a regional, and even a state-by-state basis. Here's my understanding of it all:
Northeast: New England towns and cities comprise the entire land mass; similar with townships and boroughs in NJ and PA. County government in New England is virtually non-existant.
Midwest: Also have townships but these are not as strong as those back east, villages and cities still have home rule though counties do perform some functions
South: Counties, counties, counties. County schools, police, fire, etc. Some states make it easier to incorporate as a municipality than others (e.g. few municipalties in Maryland - even Bethesda and Silver Spring are unincorporated parts of Montgomery County).
How is local government structured in your state? The west, especially, is a mystery to me.