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What city services will you use today?

Minnesota’s 854 cities make sure the people that live in them get the services they need every day.

Many of these services are so dependable that we don’t even think about them. Whether directly or through partnerships, cities are responsible for making sure residents can rely upon:

Clean drinking waterWater runs out of a silver sink faucet into a white basin

Clean drinking water is essential to a good life. Not only do we need to drink clean water for our overall health, the fluoride in treated water helps us keep our teeth and gums healthy.

Making sure clean drinking water is available to homes, businesses, and public spaces is an important responsibility of many cities throughout Minnesota. City staffs make sure that drinking water is safe and available, and make sure residents are notified if any problems arise.

Cities focus on the dependability of clean drinking water so that you don’t have to. How many times did you use drinking water today?

Elections

Cities operate many polling places where residents can vote for mayor, city council, school board, governor — even president! City staff take pride in ensuring that election results are accurate and that everyone with the right to vote can do so.

These election workers are a part of the community and know that every vote counts.

 

A bright yellow signsticks out of the snow. It has a graphic of a child on a sled and says "Children Playing."Parks and recreation

Everyone loves a day in the park! Green grass, shade trees, swings, picnic tables, basketball, and band concerts. In the winter, ice rinks, sledding hills, and ski trails are also great places to play and exercise.

Parks are one of the most popular things in our cities. Cities often rely on volunteers to keep the parks clean and usable. Cities might also have staff to maintain play equipment, mow grass, and care for the trees.

Activities and events are also services that make cities good places to live. From community education classes to afterschool programs, swimming lessons to yoga, cities help make it possible for people to learn and exercise. These kinds of city activities are often low-cost or even free.

 

Public safetyPolice patrol car with flashing lights

You never know what the day is going to bring. No matter where you live or travel in the state, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and paramedics are on call when you need them.

Public safety and emergency staff also work hard to prevent accidents and crime from happening by being present in the community and offering safety information to residents. For example, firefighters may teach students and new residents about smoke detectors and fire safety. Police officers talk with residents about crime prevention tips like locking car doors at night and walking with a friend.

 

Sewer and stormwater infrastructureA public works employee cuts into a street to access underground utlities and infrastructure

Each morning when you brush your teeth and flush the toilet, the waste water disappears down the drain.

Magic? Nope — just a well-managed system of underground pipes and equipment.

Cities and regional governments are responsible for the sanitary sewer systems most Minnesotans rely on. They make sure that polluted waters are cleaned before being returned to rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Cities also keep an eye on stormwater run-off that sometimes happens when there is a lot of rain. The storm sewer system is a city’s first line of defense against flooded streets and homes.

 

Streets and sidewalksA pickup with a yellow light bar and a plow attachment clears a road of snow, with pine trees in the background.

Getting from here to there in Minnesota almost always involves city streets and sidewalks.

They sometimes need temporary fixes like filling potholes and sidewalk cracks. Sometimes they need to be replaced.

Minnesota winters can damage streets and sidewalks. Snowplowing and street cleaning are important to make sure that people can use roads safely on days when there is heavy snow and ice.

 

Why should you care about what cities do?

Because you and your families, friends, and neighbors rely on these services each and every day. City residents who elect mayors and city councilors get to decide what is best for their own communities.

What services does your city offer?

Each Minnesota community is different from each other. So are the services residents and businesses expect from their cities. What are services that make sense in your community?

 

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