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Lesson 4: Your Local Government

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1 Lesson 4: Your Local Government

2 Municipalities in British Columbia
There are 162 different communities called municipalities in British Columbia. A municipality can be called a village, town, district and city. Eighty-seven per cent of the province’s population lives within a municipality.

3 Powers and Responsibilities
Municipalities receive their powers and responsibilities from the provincial government. Examples are: water, parks, community and recreation centres, libraries, roads and sidewalks, and transportation systems.

4 Regional Districts Municipalities, along with non-municipal areas (smaller areas that do have formal municipal structures) form part of the regional district system. There are 27 regional districts and together they cover most of the province. Regional districts coordinate larger services like land use and planning, fire protection, policing and waste management for several municipalities and non-municipal areas.

5 Key Features of Local Governments
Municipalities share several main features: A defined geographic area The power to tax An elected council

6 Taxes Property taxes is the main form of revenue (incoming money) for local governments. If you own a property, you will pay a certain percentage of its value in taxes every year. This money is used to pay for services that benefit the community such as police and the building and maintenance of roads, sidewalks and parks.

7 Local Municipal Councils
Local municipal councils are democratically elected bodies which govern the municipality. They are comprised of a head of council called a mayor, as well as several councillors. Council size varies from five to nine members depending on population. With just one exception, councillors and mayors are elected at-large (by all eligible voters within a municipality).

8 Regional District Board of Directors
Each regional district is governed by a board of directors. The board of directors is made up of municipal directors (municipal councillors or mayors appointed by their local municipal councils) and electoral area directors (directly elected by voters in unincorporated areas of the province). The head of a regional district board of directors is called the chair. The chair is chosen by a vote of the members of the board of directors.

9 Other Local Governments
Improvement districts are local authorities responsible for providing services for the residents of unincorporated communities (not governed by a municipality). There are more than 200 improvement districts throughout the province. They are governed by a board of trustees. The Islands Trust covers the islands and waters between the British Columbia mainland and southern Vancouver Island. It is divided into twelve groups of islands, called Local Trust Areas. It is governed by a 26-member elected Islands Trust council.

10 The Role of Council Local governments are responsible for the planning, growth and safety of their community. The role of all local government representatives is to listen to the concerns of people living in their community and to attend meetings to discuss, debate, and create by-laws and decisions for their municipality or region.

11 Final Thoughts Do you like living in your community? Why?
Is there anything in your community that you would change or would like to improve? Is your local government run efficiently?

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