County commission

A county commission (also known as a board of county commissioners) is a group of elected officials charged with administering the county government in some states of the United States. County commissions are usually made up of three to five members.[1] In some counties in Georgia however, a sole commissioner holds the authority of the commission.

The commission acts as the executive of the local government, levies local taxes, administers county governmental services such as prisons, courts, public health oversight, property registration, building code enforcement, and public works such as road maintenance. The system has been supplanted in large part as disparate sparsely settled regions become urbanized and establish tighter local governmental control usually in municipalities, but in many more rural states the county commission retains more control and even in some urbanized areas may be responsible for significant government services.

Various counties nationwide have explored expanding from three members to five.[2][3][4]


William Penn, colonial founder of Pennsylvania is credited with originating the system of County Commissioners in the United States.

On February 28, 1681, Charles II granted a land charter[5] to William Penn to repay a debt of £16,000[6] (around £2,100,000 in 2008, adjusting for retail inflation)[7] owed to William's father, Admiral William Penn. This was one of the largest land grants to an individual in history.[8] It was called Pennsylvania. William Penn, who wanted it called New Wales or Sylvania, was embarrassed at the change, fearing that people would think he had named it after himself, but King Charles would not rename the grant.[9] Penn established a government with two innovations that were much copied in the New World: the county commission and freedom of religious conviction.[8]

See also

References and footnotes

  1. Kelly, John (2010-03-23). "What does a county board of commissioners do?". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  2. "Senate passes 5 county commissioners bill with 'tweak' | The Spokesman-Review". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  3. "Editorial: What's better than three commissioners? Five". Boulder Daily Camera. 2018-08-01. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  4. Devine, Jacqueline (2018-03-09). "Board of County Commissioners turns down motion to increase board from 3 members to 5". Alamogordo Daily News. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  5. Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania-1681. This charter, granted by Charles II (England) to William Penn, constituted him and his heirs proprietors of the province, which, in honor of his father, Admiral William Penn, (whose cash advances and services were thus requited,) was called Pennsylvania. To perfect his title, William Penn purchased, on 1682-08-24, a quit-claim from the Duke of York to the lands west of the Delaware River embraced in his patent of 1664
  6. Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Governors, ed. (1916). "Samuel Carpenter". Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Governors, Volume 1. pp. 180–181.
  7. "Measuring Worth". Measuring Worth. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  8. "Quakers and the political process". March 28, 2006. Archived from the original on May 24, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  9. Fact About Wales and the Welsh. Archived from the original on 2015-02-22. Retrieved 2013-08-06.

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