A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district. The term is derived from French "municipalité" and Latin "municipalis".
The term "municipality" is a generic term, and can describe any political jurisdiction from a sovereign state, such as the Principality of Monaco, to a small village, such as West Hampton Dunes, New York.
The territory of a municipality may encompass
- only one populated place such as a city, town or village
- several of such places (e.g., Municipalities of Mexico)
- only parts of such places, sometimes boroughs of a city like the 34 municipalities of Santiago, Chile.
The power of a municipality range from virtual autonomy to complete subordination to the state. Municipalities may have the right to tax individuals and corporations with income tax, property tax and corporate income tax, but may also receive substantial funding from the state.
In various countries
In various countries, a municipality is the smallest administrative subdivision to have democratically elected representation. Municipalities are sometimes referred to as "communes" (for example, French commune, Spanish comuna, Italian comune, Romanian comună, Swedish kommun and Norwegian/Danish kommune). The term derives from the medieval commune.
- In Australia, the term local government area (LGA) is used in place of the generic municipality. Here, the "LGA Structure covers only incorporated areas of Australia. Incorporated areas are legally designated parts of states and territories over which incorporated local governing bodies have responsibility."
- In Canada, municipalities are local governments established through provincial and territorial legislation, usually within general municipal statutes. Types of municipalities within Canada include cities, district municipalities, municipal districts, municipalities, parishes, rural municipalities, towns, townships, villes, and villages among others. The Province of Ontario has different tiers of municipalities, including lower, upper, and single tiers. Types of upper tier municipalities in Ontario include counties and regional municipalities. Nova Scotia also has regional municipalities, which include cities, counties, districts, or towns as municipal units.
- In the United Kingdom, the term can be used "both for a city or town which is organized for self-government under a municipal corporation, and also for the governing body itself. Such a corporation in Great Britain consists of a head as a mayor or provost, and of superior members, as aldermen and councillors".
- In the United States, "municipality" is usually understood as a city, town, village or other local government unit, formed by municipal charter from the state as a municipal corporation. In a state law context, some U.S. state codes define "municipality" wider, from the state itself to any political subdivisions.
Municipalities as lower-level governance structures
- In Albania, a municipality is either part of a city (bashki) or a province (komunë).
- In Algeria, a municipality (baladiyah) is part of a daïra, which is part of a wilaya; there are 1,541 municipalities in Algeria.
- In Argentina, a municipality (municipalidad) is the institution in charge of local administration. The provinces organize the municipalities for each city in their territories according to their own municipal regime.
- In Austria, a municipality (Gemeinde) is part of a district (Bezirk), which is in turn part of a state (Bundesland).
- In Bangladesh, a municipality (Paurashava) is part of a upazila or subdistrict, which is in turn part of a district.
- In Belgium, a municipality (gemeente/commune) is either part of a province (provincie/province) or of the Brussels-Capital Region
- In Bolivia, a municipality (municipio) is part of a province, which is part of a departamento.
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a municipality (općina or opština) is part of a canton (kanton)
- In Brazil, states (estados) are directly divided into municipalities (municípios), which are the smallest political-administrative divisions; there is no equivalent to a county level. A city (cidade) is defined in Brazilian law as the urban seat of a municipality, and a municipality always has the same name as the corresponding city. Brazilian law establishes no difference between cities and towns; all it takes for an urban settlement to be called a "city" is to be the seat of a municipality, and some are very small. Other settlements have no form of local government and are under the authority of the municipality they are in, although in some cases the municipal government may set up local administrative offices there. The Federal District (the area of the national capital city, Brasília) has special status and is not divided into municipalities. The Fernando de Noronha and St. Peter and St. Paul archipelagos together comprise a unique case of a "state district" under the direct administration of the state government of Pernambuco. Apart from these exceptions, all land in Brazil, even the remotest wilderness areas, is in the territory of some municipality, and, hence, technically under the jurisdiction of a "city." No point in the country is in a non-incorporated area, and which explains why some municipalities in sparsely populated areas such as the Amazon region can be larger than many sovereign countries.
- In Bulgaria, a municipality (Bulgarian: община) is the smallest regional administrative division and is part of a province. There are 264 municipalities grouped in 28 provinces in Bulgaria.
- In the Kingdom of Cambodia, a municpality (ស឵ល឵ក្រុង) refers to city hall. Example, if they say Phnom Penh Municipality it means Phnom Penh City Hall,but sometimes a municipality refers to the capital city which is Phnom Penh City.
- In Chile, a municipality (municipalidad) is a legal entity which administers one or more communes (comuna) which are the third-level division of the country. The first division are regions which a next divided into provinces (provincia). These provinces are next divided into comunas which are assigned to a municipality for administration. In almost most cases the municipality and the comuna have the same name, but the constitution permits a single municipality to be responsible for more than one commune.
- In Colombia, a municipality (municipio) is part of a department (departamento). It is also subdivided into Corregimientos and Veredas.
- In Croatia, a municipality (općina) is part of a county (županija)
- In the Czech Republic, a municipality (obec) is part of a kraj (kraj)
- In Denmark, a municipality (kommune) is part of a region. Counties (amter) were abandoned in Denmark on January 1, 2007.
- In the Dominican Republic a municipality (municipio) is a subdivision of a province (see municipalities of the Dominican Republic).
- In Estonia, a municipality (omavalitsus) is the smallest division of local government. Municipalities can be both towns (linn) and parishes (vald).
- In Finland, a municipality (kunta / kommun) is independent and constitutes local government; each co-operates with municipalities nearby in a sub-region (seutukunta / region) and region (maakunta / landskap). A municipality can freely call itself a "city" (kaupunki / stad).
- In France, a municipality (commune) is part of a department (département) which is part of a region (région)
- In Germany, a municipality (Gemeinde) is part of a district (Kreis). Larger entities of the same level are called towns (Stadt). In less populated regions, municipalities are often put together into collective municipalities (Verbandsgemeinde)
- In Greece, a municipality is either demos (δήμος, pl. δήμοι) or kinotita (κοινότητα, pl. κοινότητες) with lesser population, which are then part of a prefecture (nomos, νομός) and then a larger region known as a periphery (περιφέρεια, pl. περιφέρειες). Municipalities are third-level administrative divisions and their heads (mayors in demi, presidents in kinotites) are appointed via popular vote held every four years.
- In Greenland, a municipality (kommunea) is the first-level administrative division of country.
- In Haiti, a municipality (commune) is part of an arrondissement, which is part of a department (département).
- In Honduras, the municipality (municipio) was in 1895 originally the subdivision of the district (distrito), but as districts have fallen into disuse, it is now the subdivision of the department (departamento). There are 298 municipalities. (See Municipalities of Honduras.)
- In Hungary, a municipality (települési önkormányzat) is part of a county (megye). There were 3,168 municipalities in 2005.
- In Iceland,a municipality is a town concil. It can also be a village with population from 300 to 18,000 people. (see Municipalities of Iceland)
- In India, a municipality (Nagar palika) is often referred to as a town. It is neither a village nor a big city. Usually, a municipality would have 20,000 or more people, but if it exceeds 500,000 it becomes a municipal corporation. Ward councillors of municipal corporations are nominated by the subdivisional officers and elected by people. The chairman is also a nominee of the subdivisional officer who is a government officer in India.
- In Israel, a municipality generally takes one of three forms: city councils, which governs a large municipality, local councils, which governs a small municipality, and regional councils, which governs a group of communities, often but not necessarily of a rural nature.
- In Italy, a comune is part of a province (provincia) which is part of a region (regione). The term "municipality" is reserved for subdivisions of larger comuni (in particular, the comune of Rome).
- In Japan, a municipality is the sphere of government within the prefectures, the sub-division of the state.
- In Kenya, a municipality is one of four types of local authorities. Nearly 50 major towns are given the municipality status.
- In Latvia, a municipality (sing.:novads, plur.:novadi). A municipality normally consists of amalgated parishes (sing.:pagasts, plur.:pagasti).
- In Lebanon, a municipality is part of a district (Arabic: Qadaa) which is part of a Governorate (Region or Province, Arabic: Mouhafazah).
- In Libya, the municipality level is that of the Basic People's Congress. Large cities are subdivided.
- In Lithuania, a municipality (savivaldybė) is a part of a district (apskritis) and is subdivided into elderates (seniūnija).
- In Luxembourg, communes are the lowest divisions.
- In Mexico, a municipality (municipio) is a subdivision of a state (estado) and a borough (delegación) is a subdivision of the Federal District (see municipalities of Mexico and boroughs of the Mexican Federal District).
- In Nepal, a municipality is a town not large enough in population or infrastructure to qualify as a sub-metropolitan city. After the census in 2001, there were 58 municipalities across the country.
- In the Netherlands, a municipality (gemeente) is part of a province (provincie).
- In New Zealand, a municipality is part of either a "city" (mostly urban) or a "district" (mostly rural). The term "municipality" has become rare in New Zealand since about 1979 and has no legal status.
- In Nicaragua, a municipality (municipio) is subdivision of a department (departamento) or of one of the two Autonomous Regions, Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte and Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur.
- In Norway, a municipality (kommune) is part of a county (fylke). There are 430 municipalities in Norway (2009).
- In the Palestinian National Authority, municipalities are localities with populations over 4,000 and have 13-15 council members. There are 105 municipalities in the PNA.
- In Pakistan, municipalities are subdivisions of a tehsil/taluka or sub-district of a "district". (See Local government in Pakistan).
- In Paraguay, a municipality (municipalidad) is part of a departament (departamento).
- In Peru, a municipality (municipio) is another term for district (distrito) and is the lower-level administrative subdivision. It is part of a province (provincia), which is part of a department (departamento). As of 2002 a department is now called a region (región).
- In the Philippines, a municipality (bayan or munisipyo) is a town with a popularly elected administration including a mayor and is part of a province (lalawigan or probinsya) (except for the independent municipality of Pateros, Metro Manila in the National Capital Region). Municipalities are not the smallest division of local government and are composed of barangays.
- In Poland, a municipality (gmina) is a part of a county (powiat).
- In Portuguese language usage, there are two words to distinguish the territory and the administrative organ. When referring to the territory, the word concelho is used, when referring to the organ of State, the word município is used. This differentiation is still in use in Portugal and some of its former overseas provinces, but it’s no longer in use in Brazil. In Portugal, a municipality is a directly elected local area authority generally consisting of a main city or town and surrounding villages, with wide-ranging local administration powers. Apart from the municipality of Corvo, however, concelhos are not the smallest administrative unit in Portugal, that being the freguesia (civil parish). For central government purposes, Portuguese municipalities are grouped into districts (distritos).
- In Puerto Rico, a municipality (municipio) consists of an urban area (termed a city or town) plus all of its surrounding barrios comprising the municipality. It has a popularly elected administration and a municipal mayor. The seat of the municipal government is located in such urban area and serves the entire municipal jurisdiction.
- In Romania, a municipality (municipiu) is a town or a city ranked by law at this level. A commune is the lowest subdivision of a judeţ.
- In Russia, several types of municipalities ("municipal formations") exist; see subdivisions of Russia
- In San Marino, there are also eight minor municipalities, castelli.
- In Serbia, a municipality (opština) is part of a district (okrug)
- In Slovakia, a municipality (obec) is part of a district (okres). There are 2,891 municipalities in the country.
- In Slovenia, a municipality (občina) is part of a region (regija). There are 211 municipalities in the country.
- In South Africa, district municipalities and metropolitan municipalities are subdivisions of the provinces, and local municipalities are subdivisions of district municipalities.
- In Sweden, a municipality (kommun) is part of a county (län). There are 290 municipalities in the country.
- In Switzerland, a municipality (commune/Gemeinde/comune) is part of a canton (canton/Kanton/cantone) and defined by cantonal law.
- In Ukraine there are two types of municipalities (or rada — council): urban and rural. Both are types of lower administrative division in the country. Urban municipalities could be city or settlement (town). Cities always carry special status: national (two), oblast (at least one in each region), and raion (the rest). Urban municipalities often consist of several other smaller ones. Bigger cities are divided into number of city raions (districts). Rural municipalities are much smaller and may combine several villages and rural settlements (smaller villages).
- In the United Arab Emirates, a municipality is part of an emirate, and is defined by the law of the specific emirates.
- In Turkey, a municipality (belediye) is a local government authority and there are two types of municipalities: metropolitan (büyükşehir) municipality, district (alt/ilçe) municipality.
- In Venezuela, a municipality (municipio) is part of a state, as well as a subdivision of the Capital District (estado).
First-level entities and other forms of municipalities
- In the People's Republic of China, a direct-controlled municipality (直辖市 in pinyin: zhíxiáshì) is a city with equal status to a province: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing (see Municipality of China)
- In Jersey, a municipality refers to the honorary officials elected to run each of the 12 Parishes into which it is subdivided. This is the highest level of regional government in this jurisdiction.
- In Macedonia, 84 municipalities (opštini; singular: opština) were established in 2004, reduced from 123 created in 1996.
- In Portugal, a municipality (município/concelho) is the primary local administrative unit. Although it is a part of a district (distrito) for certain national administrative purposes, the municipality is not subordinate to the district and decentralization is doing away with the districts. A municipality contains one or more freguesias.
- In Puerto Rico, there are no first order administrative divisions, and the municipalities (municipio) serve as second-order administrative divisions.
- In Montenegro, a municipality (opština) is the topmost regional division
- In Slovenia, a municipality (občina) is the primary local administrative unit. There are 210 of them, 11 of which have a special "Urban" status with additional autonomy.
- In Spain, a municipality (municipio) is the primary local administrative unit. It is a part of a province (provincia) for all national administrative purposes. In the Galicia region, the municipalities are called concellos, and in the Principality of Asturias region, a municipality is called conceyu. In these two regions a municipality contains one or more parroquias. See municipalities of Spain.
- In the Republic of China on Taiwan, a special municipality (直轄市 in Wade-Giles: chih-hsia-shih) is a city with equal status to a province: Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Taipei. (see Special municipality of Taiwan)
- In Ukraine two cities Kiev and Sevastopol are organized as special municipalities that are independent from their regional government (oblast / republic) within they are located.
- Council of European Municipalities and Regions
- Council-manager government
- Creature of statute
- Lists of municipalities
- Mayor-council government
- Municipal corporation
- Municipal government
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- Administrative divisions
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