City services may shut down for a number of reasons, depending on the type of service and the municipality providing the service. Common reasons for city services shutting down include labor problems, insufficient or damaged infrastructure, and resource shortages. Certain municipalities have special regulations in place that prevent essential city services, such as policing, from ever shutting down.
What services a city's government provides for its citizens varies considerably from location to location. While some cities provide only very basic services, such as policing, emergency response and education, others provide all of these in addition to electricity, natural gas and even high-speed Internet. In many cities, private companies provide utilities such as electricity, natural gas and telecommunications, and therefore, the city is not responsible when these services shut down.
City service interruptions sometimes occur when cities lack sufficient resources or infrastructure to cope with demand. A common example of this type of interruption is a rolling blackout. Rolling blackouts occur when cities periodically shut down electricity service in certain areas when power companies cannot generate sufficient electricity.
Labor problems such as strikes are one reason that city services shut down. Because some city services are essential for running a community, employees working for these services cannot strike. In New York, the Taylor Law is a special provision that prevents police, public school employees and sanitation workers from striking.