Oklahoma Local Governments
About 1,900 government entities provide public services in Oklahoma. The State of Oklahoma and its public trusts and authorities serve all Oklahomans. The rest of the government entities are local governments, which serve from a few dozen to hundreds of thousands of citizens in specific areas. Here’s a brief overview:
- Counties provide basic government services like public safety and roads. Every Oklahoman is served by one of 77 counties. Counties get funding from state, aid, property taxes, user charges, and other sources. Each county is governed by three county commissioners.
- Cities and towns (also known as municipalities) are created by their residents to provide a higher level of service than counties. The 590 cities and towns in Oklahoma get most of their money from user charges and sales taxes and spend more on police and fire than any other services. Cities are governed by elected Mayors and city councils.
- School districts provide early childhood through high school education. Oklahoma’s 528 school districts are funded from state aid and property taxes, often with federal money as well. Each school district is governed by an elected school board.
- Special districts (often called trusts or authorities in Oklahoma) provide just one or two services to their residents. Users pay fees for their services, which include airports, water and sewer, emergency medical services and, in some areas, electric, gas, phone, and cable utilities. There are 635 special districts in Oklahoma.
For more on municipal government, see the Oklahoma Municipal League website.
For more on county government, see the Association of County Commissioners website.
For more on school district, see the Oklahoma State School Board Association website.