Board of Commissioners
Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
The County Board of Commissioners is the chief policy-making body of the county government, but is also involved in some administrative activities.
The chief role of the County Board is to be the legislative body of county government. As such it services as the "gatekeeper" of many county activities. The main responsibility of a legislative body is to evaluate critically the proposals for change from the status quo. Most of the proposals will come from the outside-citizens, administrators of county departments, the state legislature or the courts. But some will come from individual commissioners as well or from board committees.
Typically, a board responds to a proposal by adopting (with or without changes) or defeating a resolution. Most board actions take the form of a resolution. The procedure for adopting ordinances is a bit more complex and counties generally adopt few ordinances compared to city government.
Another dimension of the board as legislative body is the oversight function - inquiring into the affairs of county agencies, assessing their performance, and through the adoption of resolutions, providing new policy direction or assistance in solving problems.
The following are some of the ways the Board carries out their legislative responsibilities:
- Develop and adopt the annual county government budget
- Monitor county expenditures
- Audit monthly all bills as required by statute, except where there is a board of auditors
- Adopt equalization of tax assessments throughout the County
- Set compensation of all elected officials, many appointed officials and county employees according to statutory authority
- Appoint a number of department heads and members of a number of boards and commissions
- Establish personnel policies and procedures for a number of county departments, and jointly with elected officials as affecting their departments
- Review and adopt grants in aid
- Establish new programs, or terminate existing ones
- Provide for necessary facilities and equipment for county government operation, and for maintenance of such facilities and equipment
- Provide for county participation in several multi-county human service programs
- Assist local units of government, through intergovernmental contracts, in areas of public works, human services, law enforcement, etc., sometimes granting the full faith and credit of the county to secure borrowing for local projects
- Plan for coordinated development in unincorporated areas in cooperation with townships
- Adopt, if desired by people, zoning in rural areas
- Adopt other ordinances as provided by law
Each Commissioner is elected from a Commissioner District for a two-year term on a partisan ballot. The Board may hire staff such as a county administrator, county coordinator, or board assistants as needed to carry out its tasks. The County Board may adopt state statute for the hiring or appointment of a county controller, with the statute providing designated powers and authority. County voters may chose the election of a county executive or authorize the appointment of a county manager. With the exception of the elected county executive, central administrative staff serve in a support role to the County Board and County departments.
The Board of Commissioners sets its own compensation unless the County has a compensation commission. Any resolution changing compensation of its members does not take effect until the beginning of the following term of office. Boards vary in size from 5 to 27 members. A vacancy occurring during the term is filled by appointment by the remaining members of the Board of Commissioners.
The County Board of Commissioners:
- Sets the County tax rate, within its own rate limitations
- Approves grant applications and receives grant money
- Reviews and sets many fees collected by County departments
- Receives state and federal revenue sharing money
- Borrows money for several purposes