Philadelphia Old City Hall
Philadelphia Old City Hall

City Government

There are many ways cities are created, and there exists considerable variation in their power and authority. We’ve created these public resources to help enhance understanding of local government.

City Government subtopics:

 

Recent

  • Fact Sheet
Background

The provision of elementary and secondary education is a key function of government today, but it was not among the rights afforded explicit protection under the U.S. Constitution. Since the Constitution did not explicitly grant the…

School building
School building
  • Fact Sheet
Background

A public budget is a plan of expected incomes and expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year, which is a twelve-month period that may or may not correspond to the calendar year. Most state governments use an annual budget cycle, just…

  • Fact Sheet
Background

The entire sector of municipal government debt is under $2 trillion according to Census Bureau figures from 2013[1].

Municipal securities are considered to be second only to Treasuries in risk level as an investment instrument…

  • Fact Sheet

The entire sector of municipal government debt is under $2 trillion according to Census Bureau figures from 2013[1]. This debt issuance comes from all 50 states comprising over 19,000 cities and towns, 3000 counties, 15,000 school districts and…

  • Fact Sheet
Background

Revenue is the income a local government needs to pay for all of the services it provides. A revenue structure describes the many sources of income a local government receives. The major sources of revenue include taxes, other revenue…

  • CitiesSpeak

We know that automation and artificial intelligence will have a great impact on the future of work, play, and life – but we shouldn’t jump to the assumption that this will be a net negative.

This post originally…

Robot
Robot
  • Fact Sheet
Background

Municipal election systems are determined by the nature of the council members' constituency and by the presence or absence of party labels on the ballot. With regard to the latter feature, there are two types of ballots for city…

  • Fact Sheet
Background

The form of municipal elections varies from city to city, with three common variations: some cities elect their local representatives by at-large elections, some by district, and some using a mixed system.

The election system…

People shaking hands
People shaking hands
  • Fact Sheet
Term Lengths

The most common (roughly 50 percent of localities) mayoral and councilor term length is four years. When adding municipalities that have mayoral/councilor terms of 2 years, that covers approximately 80 percent of…

Park
Park
  • Fact Sheet
Background

A formal joining of a city (or cities) with a surrounding county government is called a city-county consolidation. The resulting unified body assumes the responsibilities of both the city and the county. Although city-county…