2.2 Structure and Design of U.S. Government

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Local Government

States Create Local Governments

One very important power states have is the power to create local governments. These local governments help the state meet the needs of its citizens. Each state decides what local governments it will use and what responsibilities they have. Counties, municipalities—urban areas such as cities and villages—school districts, and townships and towns all are examples of local governments. Other local governments are called special districts, because they are created to provide a specific service, such as overseeing the county’s environment.

The relationship between a state and its local governments is not the same as the relationship between a state and the national government. That is because local governments have no authority of their own. Their authority comes from the state.

Not all local governments provide the same services, but some examples of common services include removing snow, fixing potholes in most streets, providing public transportation, putting police on patrol, maintaining local libraries, and lighting up streets. It keeps records of births, marriages, and deaths; collects and disposes of garbage; and offers health services to its residents. In fact, local governments probably affect daily life more than any other level of government