The Town of East Hampton was established in 1788 by the State as a separate political entity vested with independent taxing and debt authority. There is one incorporated village wholly situated within the Town's borders, the Village of East Hampton, and a portion of a second village, Sag Harbor. The Town has four independently governed school districts wholly located within its borders and portions of two others, all of which rely on their taxing powers granted by the State to raise revenues for school district purposes. The school districts use the Town's assessment roll as the basis for taxation of property within the Town. The Town has four fire districts wholly or partially located within its borders, all of which rely on their taxing powers granted by the State to raise revenues for fire district purposes.
The legislative power of the Town is vested in the Town Board.
The Town Clerk serves as custodian of the Town's legal documents and papers, maintains the minutes of proceedings of the Town Board and is responsible for the publication and filing of all official notices. The Clerk is elected to serve a four-year term. The number of terms the Clerk may serve is unlimited. The Town Receiver of Taxes is responsible for receiving and collecting all State, County, Town and School taxes and all assessments that may be levied in the Town. Other officers of the Town include: the Highway Superintendent, which is a two-year elected position; the Town Assessors, who are elected to four-year terms; and the Town Attorney, Town Budget Officer and Town Receiver of Taxes, all of whom are appointed by the Town Board.