Contents 1 Function 2 U.S. counties with more than one county seat 3 Other variations 3.1 New England 3.2 Virginia 3.3 South Dakota 3.4 Louisiana 3.5 Alaska 3.6 Canada and Vermont 4 Lists of U.S. county seats by state 5 Lists of Taiwan county seats by county 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Function[edit] In the United States, counties are the political subdivisions of a state. Depending on the state, counties may provide certain services to the public, impose taxes, and administer and enforce selected state laws and regulations as well as a court system (or provide regional boundaries for a state court system). In many states, certain government functions and services (as well as taxing authority) are further decentralized below the county level by dividing counties into incorporated municipalities such as cities, towns and unincorporated areas. Some types of subdivisions, such as townships, may be either incorporated or unincorporated (or both), depending on the state. The city, town, or populated place that houses county government is known as the seat of its respective county. Generally, the county legislature, county courthouse, sheriff's department headquarters, hall of records, jail and correctional facility are located in the county seat though some functions may also be located or conducted in other parts of the county, especially if it is geographically large. A county seat is usually, but not always, an incorporated municipality. The exceptions include the county seats of counties that have no incorporated municipalities within their borders, such as Arlington County, Virginia (where the county seat is the entire county[1]), and Howard County, Maryland. (Ellicott City, the county seat of Howard County, is the largest unincorporated county seat in the United States, followed by Towson, the county seat of Baltimore County, Maryland.) Likewise, some county seats may not be incorporated in their own right, but are located within incorporated municipalities. For example, Cape May Court House, New Jersey, though unincorporated, is a section of Middle Township, an incorporated municipality. In some of the colonial states, county seats include or formerly included "Court House" as part of their name, (e.g. Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia).

U.S. counties with more than one county seat[edit] Most counties have only one county seat. However, some counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Vermont have two or more county seats, usually located on opposite sides of the county. An example is Harrison County, Mississippi, which lists both Biloxi and Gulfport as county seats. The practice of multiple county seat towns dates from the days when travel was difficult. There have been few efforts to eliminate the two-seat arrangement, since a county seat is a source of pride (and jobs) for the towns involved. There are 36 counties with multiple county seats (no more than two each) in 11 states: Coffee County, Alabama[2] St. Clair County, Alabama Arkansas County, Arkansas Carroll County, Arkansas Clay County, Arkansas Craighead County, Arkansas Franklin County, Arkansas Logan County, Arkansas Mississippi County, Arkansas Prairie County, Arkansas Sebastian County, Arkansas Yell County, Arkansas Columbia County, Georgia Lee County, Iowa Campbell County, Kentucky Kenton County, Kentucky Essex County, Massachusetts Middlesex County, Massachusetts Plymouth County, Massachusetts Bolivar County, Mississippi Carroll County, Mississippi Chickasaw County, Mississippi Harrison County, Mississippi Hinds County, Mississippi Jasper County, Mississippi Jones County, Mississippi Panola County, Mississippi Tallahatchie County, Mississippi Yalobusha County, Mississippi Jackson County, Missouri Hillsborough County, New Hampshire Seneca County, New York Bennington County, Vermont

Other variations[edit] New England[edit] In New England, the town, not the county, is the primary division of local government. Historically, counties in this region have served mainly as dividing lines for the states' judicial systems. Connecticut (since 1960) and Rhode Island have no county level of government and thus no county seats. In Vermont, Massachusetts,[3] and Maine[4] the county seats are legally designated shire towns. County government consists only of a Superior Court and Sheriff (as an officer of the court), both located in the respective shire town. Bennington County has two shire towns (Manchester for the North Shire, Bennington for the South Shire), but the Sheriff is located in Bennington. In Massachusetts, most government functions which would otherwise be performed by county governments in other states are performed by town or city governments (there are no unincorporated areas in the state; that is, all land area in the state is within either a town or a city). As such, Massachusetts has dissolved many of its county governments, and the state government now operates the registries of deeds and sheriff's offices in those counties. Virginia[edit] In Virginia, a county seat may be an independent city surrounded by, but not part of, the county of which it is the administrative center; for example, Fairfax City is both the county seat of Fairfax County and is completely surrounded by Fairfax County, but the city is politically independent of the county. South Dakota[edit] Two counties in South Dakota (Oglala Lakota and Todd) have their county seat and government services centered in a neighboring county. Their county-level services are provided by Fall River County and Tripp County, respectively.[5] Louisiana[edit] In Louisiana, which is divided into parishes rather than counties, county seats are referred to as parish seats. Alaska[edit] Alaska is divided into boroughs rather than counties; the county seat in these case is referred to as the "borough seat"; this includes six consolidated city-borough governments (one of which is styled as a "municipality"). The Unorganized Borough, which covers 49% of Alaska's area, has no county seat or equivalent. Canada and Vermont[edit] In the state of Vermont and the Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, the term "shire town" is used in place of county seat.

Lists of U.S. county seats by state[edit] The state with the most counties is Texas, with 254, and the state with the fewest counties is Delaware, with 3. Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Lists of Taiwan county seats by county[edit] See also: County (Taiwan) Changhua City Douliu City Hualien City Jincheng Township Magong City Miaoli City Nangan Township Nantou City Pingtung City Taibao City Taitung City Yilan City Zhubei City

See also[edit] United States portal County seat war Administrative center County town, administrative centres in Ireland and the UK Chef-lieu, administrative centres in Algeria, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, and Tunisia Municipality, equivalent to county in many countries

References[edit] ^ [ "Counties in Virginia and the Location of Their Seats of Government"] Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Virginia Commission on Local Government.  ^ Coffee County, Alabama. "History of Coffee County". Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2011-08-19.  ^ "MGL c. 231, s. 82". Retrieved 2013-07-15.  ^ "Title 33, §701: Office in shire town".  ^ "Shannon County, South Dakota". Retrieved 10 May 2012. 

External links[edit] National Association of Counties Retrieved from "" Categories: Cities in the United StatesCounty government in the United StatesCounty seats of the United StatesHidden categories: Pages with URL errors

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