Data & Resources

Published on Oct 16, 2018

Small City Resource Manual

Contact: Andy Meyer


This resource manual is meant to make life a little easier around city hall. It can be used to help orient new elected officials or city staff or as a reference when questions arise. It provides a brief overview of key topics, outlining the most important considerations. It also provides a list of resources to help you locate additional information. At the end of each chapter, you will find a list of pertinent resources and a more comprehensive listing of resources, state agencies and other partners can be found in the appendix. This resource manual is not meant to provide all needed information on a particular topic nor legal advice. Rather, it’s intended to help quickly identify more comprehensive resources.

Throughout this publication, both small cities and towns are referred to as cities. This manual was created to support officials in cities with a population of less than 5,000. We understand that each small city – from Algona to Zillah – is unique, and that operations at a city of 500 can differ significantly from a city of 5,000. We also believe that cities and towns of all sizes share common goals and face universal challenges so we encourage all to explore this resource.

Small City Resource Manual – full document

Chapter 1: Overview of a city

Chapter 2: Leadership & management

Chapter 3: Successful city councils

Chapter 4: Planning your city’s future

Chapter 5: Ethics, open government & fairness: Staying on the right side of the law

Chapter 6: Municipal budgeting and fiscal management

Chapter 7: Human resources and labor relations

Chapter 8: Keeping your community safe

Chapter 9: Public works that work for your public

Chapter 10: Comprehensive planning, growth management and environmental protection

Index of resources

Appendix A: Agency resources

Appendix B: City and town population, county, class and government type, 2017

  • Legal requirements
  • About cities
  • Elected officials essentials
  • Data & Resources
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