City Council


The position

  • Each city is sectioned into areas called districts and residents from those districts elect a representative, known as an alderman or councilor.
  • These representatives listen to constituents in order to bring their questions and concerns to the city council.
  • Councilors usually act as the legislative branch and policy-making body of a city.
  • The council works towards accomplishing the city’s goals, completing major projects, and improving infrastructure.
  • The city charter outlines the scope of government, rules for the citizens, and the powers of the council.
  • Their responsibility is to put the city’s needs first, then represent their constituents.
  • The average hours vary from city to city, in larger cities it’s a full-time job; some towns only require a few hours a week.
  • The salary range is from $0 a year to as high as $184,000, and is paid from city taxes.
    • Average city council member salary nationally is $36,477.

How to become a City Council Member

  • A candidate must meet the city charter’s guidelines for eligible candidates:
    • Some cities have age requirements.
    • Being a citizen of the U.S. and meeting state residency requirements are necessary.
    • Living in and being registered to vote in the district they would like to run in.
  • Appear before the city clerk to apply to become a candidate.
  • Obtain voter signatures on a nominating petition (the number of signatures needed vary from city to city) and pay the filing fee.
  • Put together a campaign team, develop and deliver a message, fundraise, and mobilize voters.