Local governments in Virginia act as agents of the state, and do not have their own authority. The framework and laws for local governments are provided in Article VII of the Constitution of Virginia and Title 15.2 of the Code of Virginia.
Counties, cities and towns can apply to the General Assembly to become municipal corporations. The charters of municipal corporations are their organic (constitution-like) laws. Legislative provisions are provided in a locality's ordinances. Localities may exercise only those powers granted expressly by statute or charter.
Charters of counties and independent cities are officially published in the Acts of Assembly the year they are enacted.
Charters may also be included in a locality's ordinances.