There are more than 400 towns and cities in Kentucky, each with their own distinctive character. The needs of each town or city can also vary greatly, even within the same county.
For that reason, towns and cities--whether they have 300 citizens or 3 million--usually elect city officials in addition to their county officials.
The mayor and the town legislative body are among the most common city offices. Some of their main responsibilities are explained below:
A mayor is usually considered the chief executive of a city, town, or village. As with the executive branches of the state and federal government, the mayor is usually tasked with enforcing laws and providing services established by a legislative body, such as the city council.
The mayor also serves as a figure head for the city--someone who represents its interests and advocates for its needs.
The specific responsibilities of a mayor may vary from place to place. For example, in some towns the mayor is allowed to have another job for his or her main income, and in other towns, the responsibilities of the office require that the mayor focus his or her time exclusively on the town itself. In some cases, he or she may even have a large staff to help run the city.
The more common term for a city legislative body is "city council," though this also varies from place to place. As with the state and federal legislative branches of the government, a city council usually writes, debates, and creates laws.
But if the federal, state, and county governments all make laws, what impact does the city government have? The answer--plenty. For example, the city legislative body can address specific community issues with city ordinances. If too many crimes seem to be taking place on the street at night, they can vote for a curfew. If there are too many loose dogs, perhaps they can vote for a law that requires all pets to be kept on a leash.
The number of members of a city legislative body may also vary from place to place depending on the size and needs of the city. These members, often called "councilmembers," meet regularly to discuss issues facing the city. Sometimes these meetings are open forums for the citizens to express their own concerns about the town or to listen to the concerns of others.
Want to know when you your city council or other city legislative body meets? The places and times of these meetings are often publicized in your local newspaper or on a city website. You can also talk to your parents, teachers, or librarian if you need help.