Four branches of government serve Cary citizens - the Town of Cary, Wake or Chatham county government, the state of North Carolina and the federal government.
Often service provision overlaps two or more branches of government. For example, all four governmental entities have taxes. State and county governments share responsibility for courts, schools and elections. In Cary, the Town shares much of the burden of roadway extension and repair with the state.
Closest to Cary citizens is the Town of Cary government, which is charged with providing a broad range of services that touch most citizens every day. Cary uses a council-manager form of government for services such as police and fire protection, solid waste collection, water and sewer and building inspections.
Cary citizens are also served by Wake County or Chatham County government, depending on where they reside. According to state law, county government oversees such things as social services, public and environmental health and the landfill. A county Board of Commissioners oversees Wake and Chatham County government. County government also includes the county Board of Elections, the sheriff's office and the register of deeds.
State government, headed by the governor, the General Assembly and the NC Supreme Court, handles most everything related to motor vehicles, including titles, tags, traffic lights and driver licensing. Colleges and universities as well as alcoholic beverage control, consumer protection, insurance and utilities regulation also fall to the state.
Under the auspices of the federal government, citizens will find Social Security, the US Postal Service, air and rail services, immigration and more.