What Are Some Forms of Municipal Government?


Quick Answer

Some forms of municipal government include council-manager, commission, town meeting, representative town meeting and mayor-council. A municipal charter forms each municipality's form of government anddefines the functions, powers and organization of the municipality.

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Full Answer

In a council-manager form of government, the council oversees the general administration, sets the municipality's budget and makes policies. The council appoints a manager to carry out the day-to-day operations, and the mayor is sometimes chosen from among the council. This type of municipal government is the most common.

In a commission government, voters elect commissioners to a small board. Each commissioner is responsible for certain aspects, such as health, finance or public works. One commissioner is appointed mayor or chairman to oversee meetings, and the commission has executive and legislative functions. This is the oldest form of municipal government, but the least common as of 2015.

In a town meeting government, all voters decide policy and elect officials to carry out those policies, and voters select citizens to represent them at meetings where those citizens have the ability to vote. Meetings must be announced, and those selected are responsible for implementing policy.

In a mayor-council government, the mayor is elected separately from the council, is generally paid to work full time, and has budget and administrative authority. The charter outlines whether the mayor has strong or weak powers. The council is elected, and some cities appoint a city manager.

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