The Board of County Commissioners is the chief administrative and policymaking body of Washington County government and consists of five members, four of whom are elected from districts and one of whom is elected at large. Board members serve four-year staggered terms. The Board chooses a Chair and Vice Chair from among its membership during its first meeting in December.
The greatest single responsibility of the Board is control over the County’s finances. Every spring the Board must adopt a budget which appropriates funds to the many departments and agencies of County government, and, at the same time, provides sufficient revenue to meet these appropriations. The principal source of this revenue is the tax levied by the Board on real estate and personal property in the County.
The Board of County Commissioners does not have complete authority over all the services provided by the County. Many County activities are administered by boards with varying degrees of autonomy and by elected officials who receive their instructions from laws passed by the General Assembly. Some examples are the boards of education, social services, health, mental health, elections, register of deeds, and sheriff.
State law requires the Commissioners to appropriate funds in the areas of health, mental health, social services, and public schools. They must also provide for the operation of the offices of the Register of Deeds and the Sheriff, and are required to allocate funds for the maintenance of courtrooms and related facilities. Similarly, the Board is charged with building and maintaining the County Courthouse in Plymouth and all other buildings that house County departments.
One major responsibility of the Board is the influence over the type and extent of development that will occur in the unincorporated area of the County. The Board is the final authority on requests for changes in and amendments to the County’s Subdivision and Mobile Home Ordinances.
The Board is assisted in the execution of its duties by the full-time professional staff that constitutes the County’s Department of Administration. Washington County adopted the county manager form of government in 1973.
The County Manager carries out the day-to-day administration of County government for the Board of Commissioners. The Manager implements the policies established by the Board, advises them on matters of finance and future need, and makes to them any recommendations considered advisable in the interest of sound management. Perhaps the Manager’s most important role is that of liaison between the Commissioners and the many departments of County government. The Manager serves in a similar capacity between the Board and the governing bodies of the cities and towns of the County in an effort to work with them toward the solution of joint problems. Additionally, the Manager is the chief staff spokesperson for Washington County government.
To contact the Washington County Board of Commissioners please call the Clerk to the Board at 252-793-5823 or email the clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org