parkPeople in our communities like to have parks, police and fire protection, streets, community centers, and many other services and features that cities provide. But who pays for all of these?

We do!


In this lesson, students will discover that city governments provide goods and services by collecting taxes from citizens.



  • What makes your city a good place to live in?
  • Would your city be a nice place to live, if it didn't have any parks?
  • What if your city did not have police or fire services?
    -How would fires be put out?
    -How would people be protected?

  1. Who decides how many parks are right for your city?
  2. Who decides how many fire stations or police stations your city has?
  3. Who decides how many streets there are, or how to clear the streets of snow, or what to do with animals that run the streets?
  4. Who decides where a traffic light should go?
  5. Who takes care of the parks?

It might surprise you to know that people who live in cities have a city government that does all those things and more! You might already know a little bit about city government, but have you ever stopped to think who PAYS for all those things to happen? We do! Every time you buy a good or service, you pay a tax to the store that sells that good or service. That is a sales tax. Some of that money goes to your city hall to pay for goods and services. Your parents also pay a portion of the money they earn from their jobs to the city government. This is called an income tax.

field tripLet's go on a virtual field trip to a city hall and see who does what. Then let's talk about who pays for all of those services. Go to the City Hall Powerpoint for a Picture Tour of City Hall and let's see what a City Hall does.

Taxes are used to pay for goods and services provided by the city. There are fees that the government collects that are also used for goods and services provided for the public. Fees, such as licenses, are another source of money for those goods and services.


Write a letter to your mayor!  Write about ideas that you have that could improve your town.

Click the link below.