Local governments remain a critical part of society's infrastructure in the United States. Although the federal government gets the most attention, often times local governments have a greater impact on the day-to-day life of people. Local officials must handle a number of things for the benefit of their communities, ranging from public services such as trash pickup to public safety, elections and road maintenance.
Education constitutes one of the most important needs that local governments must deal with. While funding comes from state and federal sources, property taxes often make up most of that funding. On a local level, city councils must provide funding for the schools for transportation, hiring new teachers and finding a way to offer as much education as possible on a limited budget.
It falls to the local governments to repair and maintain their own roads. This includes street repair, expanding shoulders and painting clear lines for traffic to see, as well as making sure all intersections have appropriate safety signage. In areas that see a lot of snow, it also falls to local officials to oversee snow removal and the salting and sanding of ice.
Any city parks, school parks or other public parks fall under the jurisdiction of the local government. They must hire individuals to take care of all landscaping, cleanup, maintenance and any other responsibilities that come with maintaining a clean and safe public parks system.
Not only do local officials have to run for office, but they must also perform the duties required to run the local elections, and set up polling places for state and federal elections as well. They must hire polling workers and volunteers, and provide plenty of safe voting places so everyone can take part in the election.