County Government Structure


What Do Counties Do For Their Residents?

Regardless of the type of government, all counties are responsible for providing the same services and facilities for their citizens. Such services and facilities can be grouped as follows. Services marked with an asterisk (*) are required or governed under state law.

  • Community Colleges* - This includes support of the county or regional board of trustees of a community college that operates under state law.
  • Debt Service - Debt service is the annual principal and interest payments on debt issued for the development of public capital facilities, including roads, schools, libraries, parks, etc.
  • General Government - This grouping includes executive and legislative control, judicial support*, election supervision*, financial administration (budgeting and accounting), legal (counsel and prosecution*), personnel administration, planning and zoning, general services, and alcoholic beverage control*.
  • Health* - This grouping includes support of the state-required and state-regulated county health department.
  • Kindergarten - 12th Grade Education* - This includes support of the state-required county board of education *(which operates under state law.)
  • Land Planning and Development - This grouping includes such things as urban and rural development and redevelopment, housing, economic development, and economic opportunity programs.
  • Libraries* - This includes support of the county board of library trustees that operate under state law.
  • Public Safety - This grouping includes law enforcement, fire protection, corrections, building inspection, animal control, and traffic engineering.
  • Public Works - This grouping includes road construction and maintenance, sewer, water, storm drains, and solid waste collection and disposal. In Montgomery and Prince George's counties, sewer and water services are provided by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
  • Recreation and Parks - This grouping includes recreational activities and facilities, and park and open space maintenance and development. The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission has responsibility for parks in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and recreation in Prince George's County.