The Springfield City council, consisting of thirteen members, is the city’s legislative branch. Elected every odd numbered year, eight of its members are elected to represent “wards,” which are made of (sometimes incongruous) groupings of Springfield neighborhoods, e.g. Springfield’s ethnic North End neighborhoods — Memorial Square and Brightwood — share a ward with Metro Center, Springfield’s downtown. Five city council members are elected at-large. The City Council passes the city’s budget, holds hearings, creates departments and commissions, and amends zoning laws.