The County Commissioners constitute the chief governing body of the county. Statutory authority of the Commissioners is primarily of an administrative nature with legislative or policy-making powers. The County Commissioners are vested with selective policy-making authority to provide certian local services and facilities on a countywide basis.
Administrative powers and duties of County Commissioners encompass registration and elections, assessment of persons and property, human services, veterans' affairs, appointment of county personnel, and fiscal management. As managers of fiscal affairs, County Commissioners are responsible for adoption of county budgets,assessment of property, levying of taxes, and borrowing of funds for construction of capital construction of capital projects.
The Commissioners are elected for four-year terms, with the terms of the three Commissioners running simultaneously. In the primary election, two Democratic and two Republican candidates are nominated for the three positions on the board. In addition, independent candidates may file nominating papers before being placed on the general election ballot. The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the following general election in November are named Commissioners. They take office the first Monday of the following January.
A portion of county administrative responsibilities is shared with other county officers and agencies. For example, the County Commissioners, as members of the salary board, divide this responsibility with the Treasurer (in those counties not having a controller) and appropriate row office (all the individual offices in the courthouse) heads for fixing salaries of county employees and for determining the number of employees to be hired. Courts and the elected officials of each county row office do the actual appointing of their own clerks, deputies, and assistants, subject to limitations imposed by the salary board. As the Board of Assessment Appeals the Board of Commissioners is responsible for the registration and assessment of real property, keeping accounts, and levying taxes.
Handling of elections is one of the major jobs of the County Commissioners. As the Election Board and the Registration Commission, the three Commissioners are responsible for registering and keeping records of voters, providing voting places and all supplies for elections, and supervising the official count of votes cast. Setting the boundaries of the election districts is fixed by the courts, but the County Commissioners can institute the action. The Commissioners are responsible for maintaining such county facilities as the Courthouse, Courthouse Annexes, and County Jail.