Two issues here. First, the valve inside the house should be changed to a ball valve. These provide a 100% shut off and do not leak. Second. The valve at the meter does require a special "key" These will vary in configuration. Some are a square or rectangular hole, some are a U shape that fits over a T, and there may be others. However, you should realize that most cities prohibit homeowners and sometimes even plumbers from using these keys. The meter is the property of the city and they just don't want citizens turning water on/off. They usually will come and turn the valve for you, but that can take some time. That said, my personal feeling is that for emergencies having a key of your own can prevent alot of damage to your property. I have a "war story" to go with that, but I'll save you from it. You should be able to tell what you need for a meter key either from a rod attached to the meter valve or from the valve itself on the meter. (Depends on how deep the meter is) I had my key made for me by a welder friend out of 1" pipe.