Municipal services
Municipal services or city services refer to basic services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 that residents of a city
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 expect the city government to provide in exchange for the tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

es which citizens pay. Basic city services may include sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 (both sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

 and refuse), water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, street
A street is a paved public thoroughfare in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt, but is more often paved with a hard, durable...

s, school
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

s, food inspection fire department
Fire department
A fire department or fire brigade is a public or private organization that provides fire protection for a certain jurisdiction, which typically is a municipality, county, or fire protection district...

, police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

, ambulance
An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

, and other health department
Health department
A health department or health ministry is a part of government which focuses on issues related to the general health of the citizenry. Subnational entities, such as states, counties and cities, often also operate a health department of their own...

 issues and transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

ation. City governments often operate or contract for additional utilities like electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 and cable television
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

. Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 even provides a lighthouse service.

The available municipal services for any individual municipality will depend on location, history
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

, statutes and tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

. Provided services may vary from country to country or even within a country. Services may be run directly by a department of the municipality or be sub-contracted to a third party.


Funding for the services provided varies with the municipality in question. Funding can include tax revenue (property tax
Property tax
A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...

, income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

, municipal sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

), fees (such as building permits), fines such as speeding or parking violations, usage fees for optional services, or other sources such as profits from municipally owned or operated utilities.
Probably the greatest influence is the country in which the municipality is located.

In the UK, a combination of local taxation based on property value and central government grants is the main means of funding core services. This is supplemented by nominal fees for services provided (e.g. leisure facilities). For some services, a competitive fee is charged compared to commercial concerns that which allows a profit to be made. For other services, full commercial rates may be charged with municipally owned utilities or commercial property, for example. For the most part, services will be part subsidized by the municipality or fully subsidized by the municipality.
In recent years, UK councils have been given some leeway in finding alternative funding which can be the simple sponsorship of flower baskets to the trading of surplus buildings and land for services from private firms. In certain notorious cases, local councils have used council funds to speculate on the money markets.

Municipalities in other countries may have other methods of funding (e.g. local income taxes or even from the profits of utilities or industrial concerns fully owned by the municipality).

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, until their abolishment, Municipal Corporation
Municipal corporation
A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. Municipal incorporation occurs when such municipalities become self-governing entities under the laws of the state or province in which...

s were powerful organizations. In their Victorian heyday, with the growth of urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 and industrialization, they could be responsible for the promotion, organization, funding, building and management of everything from housing to water supplies, power in the form of both gas and electricity, to the introduction of electric trams; almost any activity that the city fathers thought
was necessary to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their municipality.

However, special powers needed to be granted through Local Acts in Parliament (for example, the Manchester Corporation Waterworks Act needed for the construction of Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

's reservoir
A reservoir , artificial lake or dam is used to store water.Reservoirs may be created in river valleys by the construction of a dam or may be built by excavation in the ground or by conventional construction techniques such as brickwork or cast concrete.The term reservoir may also be used to...

s). As times changed, the Municipal Corporations continued to try to advance the cause of their municipalities. For example, in the 1930s aviation was the new technological frontier and municipalities worked to promote themselves with the development of municipal airports.

For the most part, UK municipalities lost their in-house utilities to the nationalisation and centralisation of public utilities. One notable exception is Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

, which still has a municipally-owned telephone company known as Kingston Communications
Kingston Communications
KCOM Group , formerly known as Kingston Communications, is a UK communications and IT services provider. Its headquarters is in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, where subsidiary business unit KC serves local residents and businesses with Internet and telephony services...


One trend in the UK, (in the name of efficiency) has been the privatisation of departments, the transfer of staff and assets to the new organisation. The contracting with the new organization for services to the council. This model has been used for services from road cleaning to social housing, to leisure facilities. Though no council yet seems to dare to do so for more high profile services such as schools and social services.

In the UK, fire and police services are not under direct municipal control, even when a force can be closely identified with a specific municipal area such as Greater London. However, fire and police services are in part paid for by a surcharge
A surcharge may mean:*an extra fee added onto another fee or charge** Fuel surcharge, sky freight charges which represents additions due to jet fuel prices.** Bunker adjustment factor, sea freight charges which represents additions due to oil prices....

 to local taxation, and although they have no say in operational matters, local government
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 appoints members to a committee to oversee the running of each force.


Where there is a substantial industrial urban population isolated from other conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

s, or when and where the growth in demand is so great that it becomes uneconomic or unpractical for commercial concerns to provide, the municipalities concerned may assume functions necessary for the growth and functioning of the city.

This was the case in Victorian England also today in Mumbai, for example, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
The Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika is the civic body that governs the city of Mumbai and is India's richest municipal organisation. Its annual budget is even more than that of some of the small states of India. It is also known as Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai or the Brihanmumbai...

 and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport
The BEST ) is Mumbai's public transport service and electricity provider....

 are the major municipal organizations which are needed to allow the city to function. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is the largest municipal utility in the United States, serving over four million residents. It was founded in 1902 to supply water and electricity to residents and businesses in Los Angeles and surrounding communities...

 is a legacy of Los Angeles, which found itself in a similar position of rapid growth at the beginning of the last century. The similarly isolated Johannesburg
City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality
The City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality is a metropolitan municipality that manages the local governance of Johannesburg, South Africa...

 has chosen to run its services as standalone and self-funding, corporate entities.

See also

  • London's underground and bus services
    Transport for London
    Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

     have just returned to local municipal control.
  • Municipalization
    Municipalization is the transfer of corporations or other assets to municipal ownership. The transfer may be from private ownership or from other levels of government. It is the opposite of privatization and is different from nationalization.-Services:There have been two main waves of...

  • Urban secession
    Urban secession
    Urban secession is a city's secession from its surrounding region, to form a new political unit. This new unit is usually a subdivision of the same country as its surroundings, but in some cases, full sovereignty may be attained, in which case the unit is usually called a city-state...

  • Infrastructure
    Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

External links

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