Philadelphia Old City Hall
Philadelphia Old City Hall

City Government

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  • 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…

  • Fact Sheet
Background

A metropolitan council, also known as a regional council or council of government, is a general term that encompasses a wide range of entities, including some that are not "metropolitan" and some that are not "councils." They are…

People working together
People working together
  • Fact Sheet

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau (2012) counted 35,879 general purpose local governments, which includes 19,519 municipal governments, 16,360 town and township governments, and 3,031 county governments.

For state-by-state…

  • Fact Sheet
Background

A municipal charter is the basic document that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. It is comparable to the Constitution of the United States or a state's constitution. The…

Government building
Government building
  • Fact Sheet
Background

Through their constitutions or laws, all states establish mechanisms by which local governments are created. Some are created by direct state action - through a charter, for example. However, most are created because state statutes…

City building columns
City building columns
  • Fact Sheet
Background

A municipal charter is the legal document that defines the organization, powers, functions, and essential procedures of the city government. The charter also details the form of municipal government, of which there are historically…

State capitol building
State capitol building
  • Fact Sheet
Background

According to the Education Commission of the States, the majority of local boards of public school systems elect their members. Some school boards, however, have some or all of their board members appointed by the mayor. A sample of…

school hallway
school hallway