Local government and local officials hold incredible power over residents, yet few are engaged. From Governing:

Nationwide, though, citizen participation in local government remains abysmally low. The National Research Center (NRC), a firm that conducts citizen surveys for more than 200 communities, compiled data for Governing shedding light on the types of residents who are most active. Overall, only 19 percent of Americans recently surveyed contacted their local elected officials over a 12-month period, while about a quarter reported attending a public meeting.

At the John Locke Foundation, we know that people are busy and that’s why we keep track of local government and report on its power, its decisions, and the burden it places on its residents. For example, in the annual By The Numbers report, analyst Michael Lowrey points out the cost of local government in the Triangle.

Local taxes and fees topped $2,315 per person in Chapel Hill during the 2012 budget year, as the Orange County town dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 among North Carolina’s largest municipalities in per capita local government costs.

Durham ($2,111) dropped one spot to No. 6, and Cary ($1,951) maintained its No. 9 ranking in the John Locke Foundation’s annual ranking of North Carolina’s local tax-and-fee burdens.

Meanwhile, Raleigh ($1,912) dropped five spots to No. 16. Wake Forest ($1,871) also dropped five spots to No. 19. Holly Springs ($1,933) dropped one spot to No. 11, Garner ($1,873) maintained its No. 18 ranking, and Apex ($1,696) climbed one spot to No. 22.

You can find data on local governments across North Carolina here.