Social Studies - 2019-20

CE.8a - Structure and Powers of the Local Government

The student will apply social science skills to understand the American constitutional government at the local level by

a) describing the structure and powers of the local government;



Adopted: 2015

BIG IDEAS

UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD

The units of local governments in Virginia are created by the General Assembly.

Local governments exercise legislative, executive, and judicial powers.


ESSENTIALS

Structure

The units of local government in Virginia are counties, towns, and cities:

 Counties

o Elected board of supervisors, which exercises legislative powers, enacting ordinances (local laws) and adopting an annual budget

o A manager may be hired by the elected legislative branch to oversee the operations of the local government

o Elected or appointed school board, which oversees the operation of the K–12 public schools in the county

 Towns (incorporated)

o Elected town council, which exercises legislative powers, enacting ordinances and adopting an annual budget

o A mayor is elected by either the voters or the town council members

o A manager may be hired by the elected legislative branch to oversee the operations of the local government

o Located within counties, and citizens receive and pay for services from both the town and county

 Cities

o Elected city council, which exercises legislative powers, enacting ordinances and adopting an annual budget

o A mayor is elected by either the voters or the city council members

o A manager may be hired by the elected legislative branch to oversee the operations of the local government

o Elected or appointed school board, which oversees the operation of the K–12 public schools in the city


Virginia local governments exercise defined and limited powers, including the powers to

 enforce state and local laws

 promote public health

 protect public safety

 educate children

 protect the environment

 regulate land use

 levy and collect taxes.


In every county and city, state courts resolve judicial disputes.


The Virginia Constitution requires that voters in every locality elect a sheriff, a clerk of the circuit court, a commissioner of revenue, and a treasurer.


KEY VOCABULARY

Updated: May 16, 2018