How do city and county governments interact?

timer Asked: Jan 5th, 2013

Question Description

My understanding is that most cities are divided into districts, and that a council member presides over each one; ideally, a council meeting occurs, constituents speak their concerns, and the councilor brings them to the mayor. Ideally, the mayor listens to her councilors and addresses the issues in some way. Somewhere in-between the councilors and the mayor there are a ton of subcommittees under the mayor’s control (I imagine these as being very broad: public safety, education, law-enforcement, fire rescue, EMS, animal control, etc.) 

I’d like to know more about this process, but am I at least close? Because the heart of my question is this:

Where do county governments enter the picture? If the city is neatly broken down into so many wards, with so many councilors and a mayor, and this is the case for every city and town, then how is a county governed, how does it differ from a city’s government, and what happens when the two systems overlap (like when a city is in a tri-county area)? How do these two forms of government interact? 

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