Chapter 13 (“Local Government”)

Chapter 13
(“Local Government”)
City Governments (13.1)
City Governments
• All local governments
are created by the
state, with their
powers and duties
established in the state
• They are not
mentioned within the
U.S. Constitution.
City Governments
• A “municipality” is
defined as an
incorporated place, or
an area that is
officially organized to
provide services to its
City Governments
• All incorporated areas
begin by applying for
a city charter, which
acts like a city
• Each charter must be
approved by the state.
• “Home Rule” allows
cities to write their
own charters to create
their own governments.
City Services
Types of City Governments
Charters usually
create one of three
kinds of
1. Mayor-Council
2. Council-Manager
3. Commission Form
“Mayor-Council Form”
• In this form, power is
divided between the
mayor and city
• “Ordinances” are the
laws that are passed by
this ruling body.
• This is the most
common form.
“Strong-Mayor vs. Weak-Mayor”
Other Forms:
• In the “CouncilManager” form, the
council and mayor make
decisions jointly.
• These members are
elected in “at large”
• Usually hire an
administrator to run the
day to day operations.
Other Forms:
• In the “Commission”
form, individual
“commissioners” are
elected and serve as heads
of departments.
• Within the group, a mayor
is selected.
• The commission serves as
both legislative AND
executive branches.
Special Districts
• The most numerous
of all local
• Usually deal with
specific issues:
• Education
• Water / Sewer
• Transportation
County Government (13.2)
County Governments
• A “county” is the
largest subdivision of
a state.
• Only Connecticut and
Rhode Island do
NOT have counties.
• Louisiana has
“parishes” and Alaska
has “boroughs”
County Governments
• Most counties have a
centrally located
county courthouse,
which serves as the
center of government.
• The “county seat” is
the town that contains
this courthouse.
County Governments
• Despite the rising
power of city
governments, the
county still controls
many parts of
Waste Management
County Governments
• Most counties are
governed by a board of
• “County Managers” are
often appointed to help
run the day to day
operations of the county
• “County Executives” are
newly elected positions in
some counties.
Other County Offices
Towns, Townships, & Villages (13.3)
Towns, Townships, & Villages
• Towns, townships,
and villages are the
smallest political units
of local government.
• Like cities & counties,
they get all of their
power from the state.
Towns, Townships, & Villages
• In New England states,
“towns” are the most
• Like cities & counties,
they get all of their power
from the state.
• “Selectmen” are often
chosen to carry out the
day to day business.
Towns, Townships, & Villages
• “Town Meetings” are
common in these areas,
with a simple majority
• This is known as “direct
• In more recent times,
many have become more
“representative” (electing
someone to speak for
Towns, Townships, & Villages
• In NY, NJ, PA, and other
Midwestern areas,
“townships” are still
• A “township” is a 6 mile
by 6 mile block of land.
• “Township Committees”
are selected to run these
Towns, Townships, & Villages
• The “village” is the
smallest form of local
• Usually created when
residents want to control
their own services.
• This usually results in
higher taxes for the
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