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Topic – Municipal Governments

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Municipal Governments

Did you know a municipal or local government looks after the needs in a local area? A community must have three things to be officially established as a municipality. First, a community must have official city or town limits or boundaries. Second, a community must have a council to make decisions on behalf of local residents. Third, a community must have ways to carry out decisions for the good of the community. A municipal government works in partnership with provincial and federal governments.

How is a municipal or local government formed?

Most local governments elect a leader, called a mayor. The mayor is the chair of the elected council. Council members along with other elected officials make decisions to help a community run smoothly. During council meetings, there are debates about how to spend money, how to provide public transportation, or ideas on how to make the community a better place to live.

What are bylaws?

Approved laws in a local community are called bylaws. Bylaws are created to meet specific needs in a community. For example, not allowing smoking in public places or dogs to run around in a park without a leash. Sometimes, there are similar bylaws from community to community. A good example is a safe low-speed limit for vehicles in school zones to keep children safe. Police officers employed by the community enforce laws.

What are municipal or local services?

Municipal or local governments provide their communities with many important services. Some of these services are libraries, garbage collection, police services, firefighting, parks, and snow removal.

How are municipal governments paid for?

There are four ways that local governments raise money to keep operating. They are property taxes, user fees, licenses, and transfer payments. Through property taxes, local governments raise the majority of the money needed to keep operating.


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