Council Members' Responsibilities

Council Purpose
The financial powers of counties are placed in the County Council, which serves as a check on the Board of Commissioners. For election purposes the county is divided into 4 districts, from each of which 1 council member is elected. In addition, 3 council members are elected from the county at large, making a total of 7. All council members are elected to staggered, 4-year terms.


The functions of the County Council include:
  • Exclusive power to fix the tax rate for county purposes and for all other purposes where the rate not fixed by law is required to be uniform, and impose the tax levy
  • Exclusive power of making appropriations to be paid out of the county treasury
  • Adoption of the annual budget after receiving estimates submitted by the various county agencies through the county auditor, subject to the modification by the County Tax Adjustment Board (if applicable) and the State Board of Tax Commissioners
  • Incurring county indebtedness within the constitutional limitations
  • Appropriation of additional funds arising after the budget is adopted
  • Reappropriation of surplus funds which might be surrendered by 1 department of county government in order that the funds might be made available to another department
  • Transfer of balances in dormant funds to the county general fund
  • Fixing of salaries of officers, deputies, assistants and employees whose salaries are payable from any county fund, with certain exceptions as provided by the statutes granting this authority. County Councils have authority to fix the number of deputies, assistants and other employees whose salaries are payable from County funds
  • Levying taxes to provide funds for erecting new jails and repairing, remodeling, and enlarging of old jails
  • Furnishing financial assistance to any community center for the mentally retarded located in the county. (For this purpose, a tax of $0.04 on each $100 of taxable property may be levied)
Approve Real Estate Sale
The sale of any real property of the county having an appraised value of $10,000 or more must be approved by the County Council, as must every lease of real property for which the total annual rental payments will be $3,000 or more.

For real estate which is estimated to cost $25,000 or more, the County Council must pass a resolution expressing interest in the proposed purchase before the commissioners may convey the property. For a purchase of land only, the County Council must pass an authorization ordinance when the land is valued at $1,000 or more.

Budget Estimate

The Board of Commissioners, and officeholders and departments, must submit their budgets to the County Council as follows:

  • Expenses for each building or institution maintained or supported by the county, such as court house, county home, work house, jail, or other building or institution of whatever character, maintained or supported in whole or in part by money paid out of the county treasury
  • Amount required for building and repairing bridges, itemizing the same by giving location and cost of each bridge
  • Salary of the county attorney
  • Amount of salary or compensation of pauper attorneys, if any
  • Expenses of the County Board of Health
  • Amount for repair of roads, exclusive of bridges, itemized by location and amount for each repair project
  • Amounts required for election expenses, showing estimated number of precincts, and by separate items, the amounts required for expenditure in each
  • Amounts required for paying principal and interest of bonds and loans maturing during the ensuing calendar year, itemizing the amount required for each loan and issue of bonds
  • Amounts required to pay judgments, settlements and costs
  • Expenses of supporting inmates of benevolent or penal institutions
  • Amounts required for publication of delinquent tax lists
  • Amounts required for the compensation of employees to be paid form the county treasury
  • Amounts required for the payment of expenses of County Board of Review
  • An itemized list of all other expenditures to be made by the board, or pursuant to its order, during the year for which the appropriation is to be made
Borrowing Money
The County Council has the exclusive power to authorize the borrowing of money for the county, but the total amount of county indebtedness may not exceed an amount equaling 2% of the assessed valuation of the county. The State Tax Board may order the county to borrow money to fund the state welfare program.