The New Jersey State League of Municipalities is celebrating New Jersey Local Government Week.

From April 7 through 13, all 565 municipalities across the Garden State hope to engage citizens while celebrating the work of the local government

Michael Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities says too often the work that municipal governments do goes unrecognized. So local government week was created as an inspiration for municipalities to tell their stories.

"So what we decided to do is give municipalities some inspiration on different programs they could do, informational programs, activities, community events to show off all the things that they're doing to support their communities," Darcy said.

A lot of people go play in the park but they don't give a second thought to the local government that keeps it clean or puts its equipment in place, he said. People need help after storms or disasters and don't realize it's their local offices of emergency management helping set up response centers.

Municipal governments were the first to establish planning and zoning codes in the United States. They were the first to adopt fire safety and building standards. They pioneered in the area of public health. They were the first to develop public utilities and public transit and the first to regulate motorized traffic.

There are events this week ranging from municipal open houses to mock council meetings conducted by local students stepping in for local elected officials.

So people can get a better understanding of what it takes to keep the streets clean, there will be tours of public works facilities, and events showing off what equipment is used to keep the streets clear of snow and repaved.

Some towns are doing tours of their municipal buildings. Some people may have to pay their property taxes have no idea what a tax collector's office looks like, Darcy said.

Some people don't know that when the local government meets, they meet in the council chambers. So they can go in and see those as well. It's really a time to show off the municipality, Darcy said

He said he's looking to expand New Jersey Local Government Week next year to make it even bigger and better.

"New Jersey Local Government Week promotes civic engagement and provides an opportunity to remind New Jersey's citizens of the mission of municipal governments: to serve their communities," Darcy said.

For more information on what's happening in a certain town this week, visit your local municipal website.

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