Wisconsin law divides cities into 4 classes for purposes relating to governmental administration and the exercise of corporate power. The division is based on population as determined by the last federal decennial census or a special interim census.
For the most part, few differences exist between the structures of government in the first 3 classes of cities. Moreover, since all Wisconsin cities have home rule powers, both constitutional and statutory, the basic governmental powers of all classes of cities are essentially the same.
While the powers of cities and villages are similar, there are differences in the way they are organized. Generally speaking, city government consists of a mayor or city manager and a common council. Village government consists of a village board made up of trustees and a village president.
Cities and Villages in Wisconsin are incorporated municipalities that provide a full range of services to persons and properties within their boundaries, including street maintenance and snow plowing, sewer, water and electricity, police and fire protection, garbage collection, libraries, parks and recreation, zoning and planning, and public transportation.