Election time is fast approaching, and we are inundated with ads for president and state and federal representatives.

Our local representatives run a much quieter campaign. Cities, townships and counties have elected representatives. All of these representatives do the same type of work. I am going to focus on the City Council.

In the city of Carlton, the council is made up of four councilors and one mayor. The mayor is elected for a two year term and the councilors are elected for four year terms. These five elected individuals work together as the legislative authority for the city.

The council passes ordinances, shapes the city's goals and plans major projects and infrastructure improvements ranging from community growth to land use and finance.

The best part of this is that council members answer to the residents of the city.

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So what is the difference between councilor and mayor?

The mayor has the same roles and powers as the councilors, as well as a few unique responsibilities. The mayor serves as the official head of the city and presides over council meetings.

Neither the mayor nor any councilor has the authority to make decisions on their own. All five need to work together to make decisions.

So, I voted. Do I have any say in what happens now?

Yes, you do! You can attend council meetings so you know what is happening. You can talk to your councilors and the mayor so they know your opinion. For the city of Carlton, find their contact information on our website, cityofcarlton.com.

Jodie Johnson is the deputy clerk for the city of Carlton.