Cities 101

Cities 101 video series


These videos and information, brought to you by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC)*, are here to help our community members better understand what cities do. 

*These videos are created, owned and maintained by AWC


What is a city?


Cities build and operate most of the public infrastructure systems that ensure health, safety, and environmental sustainability. Cities manage land development, protect open space, and build and maintain parks. Cities are the systems that run so efficiently and effectively, you might not even notice they’re there! Things like streets and sidewalks, trash, parks, transportation, police, fire, water, stormwater, and sewer are all services that cities operate.

Cities 101 - Population growth


Washington’s population is booming, and much of that growth is happening in cities. Watch this video to learn how many people are expected to move to Washington, and what it means for cities as they budget, plan, and prepare for the growth.

Cities 101 - Revenues & expenses


City budgets are complicated. And how do city revenues and taxes work, anyway? Learn about how the city council plans and pays for city services and the challenges they face.

Cities 101 - Property taxes


Property tax is the largest revenue source for cities in Washington State. More specifically, it comprises nearly 25% of all city revenue, but on average, cities only receive 13 cents of each property tax dollar paid. This revenue supports critical city services, including police officers, firefighters, streets, sidewalks, and parks.

Cities 101 - Streets and the city transportation system


Nearly every trip in Washington begins or ends on a city street. Watch the video to learn about city streets and the many important features of the transportation system. As cities grapple to fund priorities, it's critical these important assets are well designed, constructed and maintained for today, and into the future.

Cities 101 - Sewers


Learn how our modern sewer systems work, how they are paid for, and why cities and you should be making a big stink about it.