City council members are responsible for a variety of duties related to local governance, including reviewing and approving annual city budgets, overseeing local public employees, and regulating local business activity by issuing licenses. Additionally, city council members may be responsible for establishing zoning laws, borrowing funds for city programs and functions, and passing local ordinances and regulations.
City council members are often responsible for identifying citizen needs and establishing long-term priorities and objectives within a community, which can include regulating local health and safety, modifying the city's charter as needed, and communicating new programs and ordinances to residents. Often, city council members interact directly with the public, responding to citizen complaints and concerns and legislating to improve citywide quality of life. Additionally, some city council members are responsible for entering into contracts on the city's behalf.
Many city council members also serve on committees related to everyday local governance, which often include citizen representatives and input. This allows individual council members to work on issues they are particularly interested in before putting matters to a council vote. City council members are also responsible for representing their communities' interests and needs to other branches of government such as state legislators or federal agencies.