Local Government

Last Updated on February 14, 2024.

Most Americans are living in smaller or bigger cities. Some of these cities are called villages or towns.

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We call city governments municipal governments, and they are deciding on local laws, services, and taxes.

1. The mayor is elected by voters.

Question 1 of 2

2. The county governments make decisions on public schools.

Question 2 of 2


This lesson is provided by Onsego GED Prep.

Next lesson: American Citizen Right and Responsibilities
This lesson is a part of our GED Social Studies Guide

Video Transcription

Municipal governments will hire firefighters, police, and animal control officers for the protection of their citizens. They will repair the city’s streets, take care of public land, and collect trash.

In city governments, the citizens are playing an important part. They will vote for people who will represent them, and the citizens may also attend meetings of the city council and share opinions.

The members of the city council are working closely with the city’s mayor for managing the city and passing local laws. City council meetings are led by the mayor, who also will represent the city at various public events.

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There are cities where the city council chooses the mayor, while in other cities, the mayor is elected by voters. Sometimes, city councils may also hire city managers to keep their cities running effectively and smoothly.

Counties and Districts

County governments are another type of local government. For example, Florida counts 67 counties, and counties may include several cities. The county’s voters will elect commissioners for running the county government. These commissioners are making decisions about things like land roads that may extend over several cities.

All counties have their own school districts, and in each district, voters will elect the school board.

School boards make decisions on public schools. These school districts are collecting taxes from property owners to help pay for education, and school districts are also getting money from their states.

Special Districts

Every state has special districts, many special districts, just like county governments.

These special districts are a type of local government. However, they are only working on one specific important issue, like city improvements or fire services.

In 1972, Florida, for example, created five special districts to deal with water management.

Those special water management districts ensure that all Floridians will have sufficient fresh drinking water and water for recreation. These districts are working to stop pollution and control floods.