Purpose and Duties
Members & Terms of Office
Each county is governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of 3 elected persons. The commissioners are elected from separate districts (in which they must reside) but by vote of the county as a whole.
The terms of office of county commissioners are 4 years on a staggered basis. In general, the Board of Commissioners is responsible for the administration of county business. The commissioners may enact ordinances to meet local conditions and exercise other authority vested in the board by the legislature. The base salary for the commissioners is established by the salary ordinance.
The Board of County Commissioners serves as the executive and administrative authority for the county. Their duties include the following:
- Appointment of certain county and township officials
- Audit and authorization of claims against the county
- Authorization of contracts and received bids
- Control, maintenance, and supervision of county property
- Performance of certain election functions
- Service as the Board of County Finance
- Supervision of construction and maintenance of roads and bridges
General Powers & Duties
Examples of the powers and duties exercised by the Board of Commissioners include:
- Controlling, maintaining, and supervising county property including the courthouse, the county home, hospitals, library, jail, and the equipment and facilities thereto.
- Auditing and authorizing of claims against the county.
- Receiving bids and authorizing contracts.
- Supervising construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, including the power to establish a cumulative building or sinking fund to provide for the building and repair of bridges, to establish county highway right-of-way widths, and to authorize the preparation of maps of county roads and the installation of road signs where there is no County Plan Commission to exercise this authority.
- Exercising the county's power of eminent domain.
- Performing certain election functions including the establishment of precincts, the providing of polling places (with an effort to make accessible to physically handicapped), and the necessary equipment.
- Appointing county and township officials as authorized by law, including the filling of vacancies.(However, most vacancies in elective offices are filled according to IC3-13-7.)
- Preparing that part of the annual budget over which county commissioners exercise direct control.
- Serving, with the county surveyor, as members of the County Drainage Board.
- Altering of township boundaries.
- Recommending to the County Council the amount of salary to be paid to each county officer and also the hiring (number and compensation) of their deputies and other employees.
- Issuing of bonds or notes in connection with the borrowing of money for the county (subject to approval of County Council)
- Supervising admission of indigent persons to county homes upon application of the township trustee. In counties where the operation of a county home has been discontinued, the Board of Commissioners is authorized to contract with private institutions or county homes in other counties for the maintenance and care of indigents.
- Granting financial aid to hospitals owned and operated by benevolent institutions within counties that have no county hospital. In any county not having a licensed hospital, the county commissioners may appropriate funds to be contributed toward the construction, equipping or operation of a county-owned and county-operated hospital in an adjacent county. The citizens of such contributing counties are to be accorded the same rights and privileges in such a hospital as are the citizens of the county in which the hospital is located (subject to approval of County Council). In counties which have first-class or second class cities, the commissioners may exercise power of condemnation to acquire land for general non-profit hospital corporations. The commissioners may also contract with not-for-profit hospital corporations. The commissioners may also contract with not-for-profit corporations for health and community services not specifically provided by a governmental agency or department.
- Leasing county-owned land for the purpose of mining gas and oil.
- Establishing animal shelters and rabies control projects.
- Fixing and posting speed limits and yield or stop signs on any street, road, highway, or dangerous railroad crossing within their jurisdiction.
- Authorizing financial assistance to non-profit community psychiatric clinics or other community facilities and services for the mentally ill.
- Passing ordinances incorporating towns.
- Establishing minimum standards for plumbing and plumbing systems. Serving in a consultant capacity to the Board of Commissioners in this function is an advisory committee which includes the county health officer or a health department employee and representatives of the plumbing and construction industries.
- Establishing and maintaining an adequate system of books and records of the county highway department as prescribed by the State Board of Accounts.
- Designating preferential county highways and erecting stop signs at intersections.
- Adopting fire prevention ordinances.
- Contracting with private persons or corporations for ambulance service. Fees may be collected for such service. Fees may also be collected for ambulance service provided through fire or police departments.
- Establishing solid waste districts and serving on the district boards, which are responsible for developing 20-year plans for the disposal, recovery, and reduction of solid waste. Those responsibilities include implementing recycling programs, operating disposal facilities, and developing financing mechanisms to meet state-imposed solid waste reduction goals.
- Enacting ordinances to require persons who own or lease property outside the corporate limits of any city or town, on which is located a building or buildings used for residential or business purposes, to connect to available sewer systems, and to regulate the manner and method of disposal of domestic or sanitary sewage by private methods.
- Providing highway construction and maintenance on behalf of cities and towns within the county, if so authorized.
- Adopting ordinances and regulations to control the location, construction or repair of all wells within the county.
- Making appointments to boards, commissions and other agencies, as provided by law.
- Providing park and recreation facilities.
- Furthering economic development.
- Providing services to veterans.
- Furthering redevelopment of land.
- Providing county fair and 4-H projects.
- Preserving cemeteries having no resources.
- Providing housing and building regulation.
- Assisting public transportation facilities.
- Providing zoning and planning.