Town council
A town council is a democratically elected form of government for small municipalities
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 or civil parishes. A council may serve as both the representative and executive branch.

Depending upon local laws and regulations, town councils usually self-organize and elect a leader to set the agenda of their governing body. This leader may be granted a title such as chairman, mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

, or president
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...


Republic of Ireland

Town Councils in the Republic of Ireland
Town Councils in the Republic of Ireland
The term Town Council was introduced into Local government in the Republic of Ireland by the Local Government Act 2001. From 1 January 2002 the existing Urban District Councils and boards of Town Commissioners were renamed as Town Councils....

 form the second tier of local government under counties, and date from 2002, when the existing Urban District Councils
Urban district
In the England, Wales and Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council , which shared local government responsibilities with a county council....

 and Town Commissioners were redesignated. There are currently 75 such councils.


There are currently seven town councils in Belize
Local government in Belize
Local government in Belize consists of four types of local authorities: city councils, town councils, village councils and community councils. Some rural communities also have an alcalde, a local magistrate who performs both administrative and judicial functions.-City and town councils:There are...

. Each town council consists of a mayor and a number of councillors, who are directly elected in municipal elections every three years. Town councils in Belize are responsible for a range of functions, including street maintenance and lighting, drainage, refuse collection, public cemeteries, infrastructure, parks and playgrounds.

United Kingdom

In England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 councils are civil parish councils, where the civil parish has declared itself to be a town. Civil parishes are the most local level of elected governance, under the district, unitary
Unitary authority
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national...

 or county level.

Any parish can decide to describe itself as a town. The chairman of a town council is called a town mayor
Elected mayors in the United Kingdom
Directly elected mayors are council leaders elected by the general electorate of a council area for local government, instead of being appointed by members of a local authority, which is common in the United Kingdom. The Elected Mayor is elected from a number of candidates who put themselves up for...

. The term 'town mayor' is used as opposed to simply 'mayor', which means the mayor of a borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 or a city. However, this is often abbreviated simply to mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

, especially where the town was historically a borough or city, such as Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

 or Ely
Ely, Cambridgeshire
Ely is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, England, 14 miles north-northeast of Cambridge and about by road from London. It is built on a Lower Greensand island, which at a maximum elevation of is the highest land in the Fens...

. In Scotland, the term 'provost
Provost (civil)
A provost is the ceremonial head of many Scottish local authorities, and under the name prévôt was a governmental position of varying importance in Ancien Regime France.-History:...

' is commonly used to designate the leader of the town council.

Historically the term 'town council' was used for the governing body of a municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...


The term 'town council' in England, is today used only for a parish council which has named itself as a town council. If another type of local authority such as a district authority covers a single town (such as Corby
Corby Town is a town and borough located in the county of Northamptonshire. Corby Town is 23 miles north-east of the county town, Northampton. The borough had a population of 53,174 at the 2001 Census; the town on its own accounted for 49,222 of this figure...

 or Cheltenham
Cheltenham , also known as Cheltenham Spa, is a large spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds in the South-West region of England. It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival held...

) then the council is often a 'borough council': borough status is however conferred at the discretion of the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...


In Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, where the lowest tier of local government is known as a community
Community council
A community council is a public representative body in Great Britain.In England they may be statutory parish councils by another name, under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, or they may be non-statutory bodies...

, the Community Council may unilaterally declare itself to be a Town Council, but this has the same status as a Community Council.


Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 town council members serve primarily as a policy and direction board for the community. They consist of five to seven members with the head of council being the mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 or reeve.


Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 town council members serve as both the executive and legislative branches for small communities incorporated as towns within the state. They consist of three or five members, depending upon the town's population.

Unlike some states, Indiana councilmembers must declare a political party affiliation, if any, when they file to run for office. Upon election in November, they are sworn in before January 1 of the following year, where they serve a four year term. There are no state term limits affecting how many times a candidate may run for reelection to office.

The first meeting after an election, members of the town council hold an organizing meeting, where they elect a president to set future agendas and act as an official spokesman for the town or as liaison between the town and state and county government.

Indiana town councils work in conjunction with an elected town clerk, who manages the day-to-day business of the municipal government. As an elected official, the town clerk is solely executive in function and operates independently of the town council. But the council has final say on budgets which clerks depend upon to operate.

In addition to a clerk, the council can authorize the hiring of other staff to run the operations of government, including law enforcement officers, utility
In economics, utility is a measure of customer satisfaction, referring to the total satisfaction received by a consumer from consuming a good or service....

 workers, park and recreation employees and town managers. These employees serve at the pleasure of the council.


Town councils in Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 are essentially city councils in towns which have adopted a city form of government but prefer to retain the "town of" in their names. In several communities which have adopted such a government, the official name of the community is "The City Known As The Town of..." The legislative body of a legal town in Massachusetts is a town meeting
Town meeting
A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government....

; the executive board is a board of selectmen
Board of selectmen
The board of selectmen is commonly the executive arm of the government of New England towns in the United States. The board typically consists of three or five members, with or without staggered terms.-History:...

. The advantage to styling a community's name as a city lies in its ability to enact ordinances. Towns may adopt by-laws, but they are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. City ordinances are presumed to be legal unless challenged and set aside in court. See Massachusetts Government.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, the Town Council is an elected body which serves as the legislative and executive body of the town. The town is governed by a charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

, which is allowed under the home rule
Home rule
Home rule is the power of a constituent part of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been devolved to it by the central government....

 provision of the New Hampshire Constitution
New Hampshire Constitution
The Constitution of the State of New Hampshire is the fundamental law of the State of New Hampshire, with which all statute laws must comply. The constitution became effective June 2, 1784, when it replaced the state's constitution of 1776....

 (Pt I, Art. 39) and Title III of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated. The charter for a Town Council must meet the following requirements of RSA 49-D:3 I. (a) - (e) and all other applicable laws. The basic notion of home rule in New Hampshire is that local communities are not allowed to supersede the authority specifically granted to them by the state.

Official Ballot Town Council

The Official Ballot Town Council is a variant form of the Town Council. In the Official Ballot form of government, the town council is vested with the limited authority to vote on all matters not voted on by official ballot. The authority and restrictions on the Official Ballot town council is the same as the Town Council, except with respect to those matters specified to be voted on by official ballot. Also, the council decides what is placed on the ballot, not the registered voters.

The charter of the Official Ballot Town Council is required by law to specify specifically:
  • Which budgetary items to be included on the official ballot; and
  • A finalization process for the annual budget; and
  • Process for public hearings, debate, discussion, and amendment of questions to be placed on the official ballot; and
  • Procedures for the transfer of funds among various departments, funds, accounts, and agencies as may be necessary during the year; and
  • Applicability of the official ballot procedure to special elections

The charter also must specify whether a 2/3 or 3/5 majority vote is required to approve bonds or notes, with the default being 2/3.


In Singapore, town councils are the administrative branch of the government in a constituency, such as the single member constituencies
Group Representation Constituency
A Group Representation Constituency is a type of electoral division or constituency in Singapore, the Members of Parliament of which are voted into Parliament as a group...

 (SMCs), or a collective of constituency within an elective region, such as the group representation constituencies
Group Representation Constituency
A Group Representation Constituency is a type of electoral division or constituency in Singapore, the Members of Parliament of which are voted into Parliament as a group...

(GRCs). MPs are members of either a GRC, or an SMC.
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