Relationship Between State and Local Government

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Forms of Local Government

The basis for county, city and special district governing and authority are laid out in the State Constitution and Government Code. Counties in California are responsible for providing limited services to unincorporated areas. The state Legislature created the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in 1963 to control local government fragmentation. The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) gives counties the power to tax, create special districts and annex unincorporated land to cities in the county (League of Women Voters, 1992).

There are three classes of county government. The main differences are in the organization and selection of governing bodies and officers. General Law counties elect supervisors by district and Charter counties can elect at large or by district. Charter counties have more freedom drafting their charters determining the powers and duties of their officers and if they will be elected or appointed. The third class is Consolidated city and county. San Francisco is the only city-county (League of Women Voters, 1992).

Counties provide services mandated by law but can also provide services specific to their communities needs. Counties assess property value and collect property taxes. Counties are governed by an elected Board. These Supervisors appoint executives to manage functions of the county. Counties receive revenue from state and federal programs.

There are two kinds of municipalities (city/town). General- Law powers are defined by the states Government code. City government establishes municipal policy and enacts and implements local ordinances. City governments are responsible for providing services which directly affect the lives of their residents like police ...

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