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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A city council is the legislative body that governs a city, municipality or local government area.



Because of the differences in legislation between the States, the exact definition of a City Council may vary slightly. However, it is generally only those local government areas which have been specifically granted city status (usually on a basis of population) that are entitled to refer to themselves as cities. The official title is "Corporation of the City of ------" or similar.

Some of the larger urban areas of Australia are governed mostly by a single entity (see Brisbane and other Queensland cities), while others maybe controlled by a multitude of much smaller city councils. Also some significant urban areas can be under the jurisdiction of otherwise rural local governments. Periodic re-alignments of boundaries attempt to rationalise these situations and adjust the deployment of assets and resources.


Swedish municipalities are governed by a legislative body called a kommunfullmäktige in Swedish. Though Swedish law uses the term "municipal assembly" to describe these bodies in English, they are frequently referred to as "city councils" as well, even in official contexts in many of Sweden's major cities, including Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.

United Kingdom

In the UK, a city council is:

In England:

In Wales:

In Scotland

In Northern Ireland

United States and Canada

City councils generally consist of several (usually somewhere between 5 and 50, depending on the city's size) elected aldermen or councillors. Other common titles for members of the council include councilmember or councilman/woman.

In some cities, the mayor is a voting member of the council who serves as chairman; in others, the mayor is the city's independent chief executive (or strong mayor) with veto power over city council legislation. In larger cities the council may elect other executive positions as well, such as a council president and speaker.

The council generally functions as a parliamentary or congressional style legislative body, proposing bills, holding votes, and passing laws to help govern the city.

The role of the mayor in the council varies depending on whether or not the city uses council-manager government or mayor-council government, and by the nature of the statutory authority given to it by state law, city charter, or municipal ordinance.

There is also a mayor pro tem councilmember. In cities where the council elects the mayor for one year at a time, the mayor pro tem is in line to become the mayor in the next year. In cities where the mayor is elected by the city's voters, the mayor pro tem serves simply to serve as acting mayor in the absence of the mayor.

In some cities a different name for the municipal legislature is used. In San Francisco, for example, it is known as the Board of Supervisors because San Francisco is a consolidated city-county and the California constitution requires each county to have a Board of Supervisors.

See also

Simple English

A city council is a form of local government, usually covering a city or other urban area, such as a town.

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