14.5 County and City Government – American Government 3e

County and city governments make up an crucial component of the overall structure of the politics. not merely do they affect citizens directly ; it is besides easier for citizens to interact with local anesthetic government officials because their offices and the community ’ s school circuit board or city council meetings are often conclude by. Despite this fact, voter output in local elections tends to be lower than in state of matter and national elections. Municipal and county governments differ in structure and purpose in respective ways .


County governments serve a larger geographic area than cities and towns, but a smaller area than states. They are created by the country government and typically operate under provisions set out in the state constitution. As such, they are basically administrative units of the department of state. Census estimates from 2012 indicate that there are just over three thousand counties in the United States. 82 County systems normally take one of three basic forms : the commission system, the council-administrator system, and the council-elected administrator system .
The most coarse form of county government is the deputation system. Under this structure, an elect commission, which broadly consists of a small number of commissioners, serves as the governing body within the county, performing all legislative and administrator functions. These include adopting a budget, passing county resolutions, and lease and dismissal county officials. 83

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Under the council-administrator system, the voters elect council members to serve for a specified period of time, and the council in sour appoints an administrator to oversee the operation of the government. The administrator serves at the directive of the council and can be terminated by the council. The finish of this arrangement is to divide administrative and policymaking responsibilities between the elected council and the appointed administrator. 84

Under a council-elected administrator system, the voters elect both the members of the council and the executive. The executive performs functions similar to those of the submit governor. For example, the executive can veto the actions of the council, draft a budget, and provide suggestions regarding public policy. 85
Although the tasks they perform can vary from state to state of matter, most counties have a courthouse that houses county officials, such as the sheriff, the county salesclerk, the tax assessor, the treasurer, the coroner, and the engineer. These officials carry out a kind of significant functions and oversee the responsibilities of running a county government. For exemplify, the county coroner investigates the cause of death when leery circumstances are confront. The county salesclerk oversees the registration of voters and besides certifies election results for the county. In accession, this officeholder typically keeps the official birth, death, and marriage records. The county treasurer oversees the solicitation and distribution of funds within the county, while the county tax assessor conducts property tax evaluations and informs individual citizens or occupation owners of their correct to contest the survey value of their property. finally, a county engineer will oversee the care and construction of county infrastructure. 86 In short-change, counties help to maintain roads and bridges, courthouses and jails, parks and pools, and populace libraries, hospitals, and clinics. 87 To provide these services, county governments typically rely on property tax gross, a helping of sales tax receipts, and funds from intergovernmental transfers by way of federal or country grants .

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