Florida Association of Counties official visits BOCC as guest speaker

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 04:47 PM.

She reviewed the definition of a county, how it differs from a city, what forms of government are offered to the counties and what forms of government do other similar sized counties in Florida choose.

“Florida has 67 counties,” said Delegal. “20 of which are chartered counties. Historically, a county in Florida was a political subdivision of the state, established by the state to execute state services at the local level.”

She defined Home Rule as “the transfer of certain state powers to local entities in matters of local concern, but no complete autonomy.”

“This offers locals more control over their internal affairs and alleviates the need for state legislation of local concerns,” she said. “Ideas are consistent with traditional American ideals of self governance and independence. This is important for Holmes County to consider because over half of the population of Holmes County live in unincorporated areas of the county and therefore are looking to the county to provide most of the services required to maintain quality of life.”

She said some of the benefits of being a chartered county are that the county can “choose form of government, power to tax in unincorporated areas, may alter functions of county officers, can have county ordinances prevail over municipal ordinances, special acts that limit power must be approved by voters and can increase citizen involvement.”

“Right now as an non-chartered county ordinances are trumped by city ordinances,” said Delegal. “If the county were to become chartered then the county can prevail over city ordinances.”

Traditionally, she said, the duties of a county were “assessment of property, record keeping, maintain rural roads, administer elections, perform judicial functions and local law enforcement and public safety,” but lately those services have expanded to include “public health and welfare, consumer protection, economic development, employment and training, planning and zoning, water quality, fire protection and emergency management.”

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