Have you ever wondered how it is that tax values are set for investment real estate? Who decides whether to build a new convention center or fix up the school? Whose job it is to make sure the roads are repaired? These are all jobs done by your local city or town council. If you're curious about how they operate, this article will give you a run down of what happens in their meetings and tell you how to go about getting involved if you have an opinion or idea to contribute.

Most of the business your municipal government conducts is done in closed sessions. The elected representatives of your city's various districts get together and debate issues that are of concern to the town, such as taxes, which neighborhoods should be used for what purposes, and how the city's services are run and funded. Ideas are suggested and votes are then taken from council members on what action should be taken.

Your ability to influence what goes on in a closed city council meeting is limited. Everyone who lives in the municipality gets a vote on the issue of who is mayor and who is elected to represent each district. When you cast your vote, you do so with the knowledge that this person's ideas and opinions are going to represent your own. This is a kind of influence, so pick someone who has the same ideas as you do.

If you've got a complaint, idea, suggestion, or comment that you would like taken into consideration when a particular topic, such as whether to require drivers to equip snow tires during the winter, you can also write to your city counselor. It is this person's job to be aware of your concerns and to bring them to the attention of the council. If your issue is large enough, you may even be invited to present it to the council.

When hot button issues arise, city councils may need to open up their proceedings to get more opinions from the public in a town hall meeting. In this type of meeting, the city council will appear before a gathering of citizens and invite them to speak their minds on the issue, whether it's creating a dog park for the town or deciding which professional painting company should be hired to paint the town arena. The decision on a course of action still lies with the council, however.

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