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Council and Democracy

Norway is divided into 19 counties and 428 municipalities (2013). The municipalities are the most important units of local government administration.

The municipalities are the most important units of local government administration and they are responsible for kindergarden, primary and lower secondary education, social services, municipal roads, water and sewerage and zoning regulation.

Upper secondary schools and a number of technical services such as urban public transport are administered at the county level.

Each of these levels of administration receives part of their revenues through local taxation, fees and local business management, and partly from allocations from the central authorities and other public institutions.

Elected councils govern the counties and municipalities, and elections are held every four years. Mandates are distributed according to a system of proportional representation, and the number of mandates varies from minimum 11 (municipal councils) and 19 (county councils) to minimum 43 (both levels) for the largest counties and municipalities.

The Mayor chairs the City Council who makes decisions on major issues concerning the city budget, the development of the city and the services provided to the citizens.

Most of the Members of the City Council are assigned to a standing committee each of which has its own specialized field of responsibility. The committees are responsible for preparing propositions and report to the City Council.