Perhaps I am mistaken, but to my eye the duties of a modern municipality are really fairly limited. You've got the duties that are more or less mandatory, and then a second set that quantify as "gee whiz, it'd be nice if we could..."
Mandatory stuff seems to me to include providing police and fire services, sufficiently strenuous building standards that new structures don't spontaneously burst into flame/explode/fall over, and making sure that roads and sidewalks are kept in reasonably good condition. Parks are nice, if the cash is there to pay for both purchase and maintenance of those little comforts - otherwise, private parks can and have succeeded.
This leads me to my rant - just where is it the duty of a city to *first* create an artificially limited number of cabs (647 for the entire City of Seattle), and then how is it the business of the Mayor to determine what sort of fuel mileage those cabs get?
The City of Seattle and its' ever-overbearing Mayor, seem to be yet again out-growing their breeches (rather spectacularly in the case of the essentially globular Mayor).