Counties in Florida

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Florida has 67 counties. In 1968, Florida voters adopted a constitutional amendment that grants local voters the power to adopt charters to govern their counties. Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county. They resemble state or federal constitutions and they must be approved by the county's voters.

As of January 2009, 20 counties in Florida have adopted charter status. Taken together, these counties include more than 75 percent of Florida's residents.

County website evaluations

Main article: Evaluation of Florida county websites
  • 47 of the 67 counties posted their budgets online.
  • 60 counties include information on their websites about public government meetings.
  • 57 include information about the county's elected officials.
  • 46 include information about the county's administrative officials.
  • 52 counties give information about permits and zoning in the county.
  • 31 of the counties put information on their websites about audits that the county government has had performed.
  • 22 of the 67 counties give information about their contracts with county vendors.
  • 3 Counties (Duval, Palm Beach, Pinellas) disclose whether or not they belong to a government sector lobbying associations.
  • 8 counties (Calhoun, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Highlands, Orange, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam) provide information on how to request public records using the Florida Sunshine Law.
  • 54 county websites provide some information about county taxes.

Ballotpedia (Sunshine Review) evaluated Ballot measure information on Florida county websites.

Attorney General calls for improvement

Attorney General Bill McCollum issued a call on December 30, 2008 for all "sheriffs, county commissions and school boards" to "...immediately place on their websites the email address and phone number for their public records points of contact. Additionally, the Attorney General asked the government leaders to have their contracts and current budgets posted online in time for Sunshine Week, which starts on March 15."[1]

Counties without websites

As of early January 2009, one of Florida's 67 counties had no website.

County governance

How Florida counties are governed depends to a significant extent on whether the county is a charter county or not. The basic differences between a charter county and a non-charter county are:

  • For a non-charter, the structure of county government is defined in the Florida Constitution and state statutes. The only way the governance structure of a non-charter county can be changed is by amending the state constitution or state laws. Charter counties, on the other hand, have a governance structure defined in their charter that can be amended by the county's voters as they determine the need for change.[2]
  • Any powers of self-governance in non-charter counties are those prescribed by the state constitution. In charter counties, self-goverance is the norm, as long as any self-government decisions are consistent with Florida's constitution and laws.
  • Non-charter counties do not have the powers of initiative or referendum or recall. Charter counties do have these powers, if it is written into their specific charter. 15 counties do allow citizens to initiate amendments through the process of collecting signatures on petitions; five do not. The five that do not are Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and Volusia.[3]
  • Non-charter counties do not require an administrative code. The charter of a charter county can require such a code.[4]
  • Non-charter counties can't levy taxes in the county's unincorporated areas. Charter counties can levy "municipal utility taxes" in unincorporated areas.

List of counties

Name County seat Charter? County initiative?
Alachua County Gainesville X X
Baker County Macclenny
Bay County Panama City
Bradford County Starke
Brevard County Titusville X X
Broward County Fort Lauderdale X X
Calhoun County Blountstown
Charlotte County Punta Gorda X X
Citrus County Inverness
Clay County Green Cove Springs X X
Collier County Naples
Columbia County Lake City X X
DeSoto County Arcadia
Dixie County Cross City
Duval County Jacksonville X
Escambia County Pensacola
Flagler County Bunnell
Franklin County Apalachicola
Gadsden County Quincy
Gilchrist County Trenton
Glades County Moore Haven
Gulf County Port St. Joe
Hamilton County Jasper
Hardee County Wauchula
Hendry County La Belle
Hernando County Brooksville
Highlands County Sebring
Hillsborough County Tampa X
Holmes County Bonifay
Indian River County Vero Beach
Jackson County Marianna
Jefferson County Monticello
Lafayette County Mayo
Lake County Tavares
Lee County Fort Myers X X
Leon County Tallahassee X X
Levy County Bronson
Liberty County Bristol
Madison County Madison
Manatee County Bradenton
Marion County Ocala
Martin County Stuart
Miami-Dade County Miami X X
Monroe County Key West
Nassau County Fernandina
Okaloosa County Crestview
Okeechobee County Okeechobee
Orange County Orlando X X
Osceola County Kissimmee X X
Palm Beach County West Palm Beach X X
Pasco County Dade City
Pinellas County Clearwater X
Polk County Bartow X X
Putnam County Palatka
St. Johns County Saint Augustine
St. Lucie County Fort Pierce
Santa Rosa County Milton
Sarasota County Sarasota X
Seminole County Sanford X X
Sumter County Bushnell
Suwannee County Live Oak
Taylor County Perry
Union County Lake Butler
Volusia County De Land X
Wakulla County Crawfordville X X
Walton County DeFuniak
Washington County Chipley

See also

External links

References

  1. McCollum Calls on Local Governments, Law Enforcement and School Districts to Make Enhanced Sunshine New Year’s Resolution, December 30, 2008
  2. Basic differences between charter and non-charter counties
  3. Comparison of the charter counties as it relates to recall, initiative and referendum
  4. Administrative structure of Florida's charter counties

This article was taken and modified from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia under the GNU license.