The First Active Government

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The First Active Government

Finishing off the different forms of local government and looking at their revenue and expenditure.

Lecture number:
Lecture Note
Texas A&M University
Pols 207 - State & Local Goverment

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POLS 207 1st Edition Lecture 17 Outline of Last Lecture I. The First Active Government Outline of Current Lecture II. City Government a. Machine Politics b. Reform III. Districts a. School Districts b. Special Districts Current Lecture  The Council-Manager Form  Texas cities favor this form of city government and, in fact, Dallas and San Antonio are two of the largest cities in the country using it.  An elected city council of five to fifteen members appoints a city manager who is responsible for hiring and firing department heads and for preparing the budget.  A mayor is elected at-large or by the council, but, except for presiding over the council, has the same powers as the other council members.  Proponents of the council-manager form have argued that it is the most efficient form of city government and that it allows for some separation of politics and administration, but in reality politics and administration cannot be separated completely.  Organization of City Government  The Commission Form – A Historical Footnote o This form of city government is said to have originated in Galveston to meet its emergency needs following the city's devastation in 1900. o Elected commissioners administer various departments and collectively comprise the policy-making board of the city. o The commission form has lost favor because many believe that individual commissioners tend to become advocates for their departments rather than public-interest advocates. o Today, Texas home rule cities no longer use commission government, although some general-law cities still have this form.  Town meeting  Particularly used in New England states  Historically had this because they were governing by consensus.  Voters would go to these town meetings and make decisions  Cities are now too complicated for this and people are too busy.  What Form is Preferable?  Council-manager government seems to work best in middle-sized cities from 25,000 to 250,000 in population. o These largely suburban cities prefer the emphasis on business-like efficiency and political neutrality of the city manager plan.  Most smaller cities use a mayor-council form of government  Larger cities which need the political focus provided by an elected mayor use either a mayor-council or mayor-manager form.  (Add table to study guide)   City Services  Police  Fire  Streets  Sewage  These services began in the municipal government period due to the influx of immigrants crowding American cities.   City Revenue  35% of revenue from utilities.  27% local taxes – property taxes and sales tax  Inter-governmental revenue   City Expenditure  35% utilities

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