County seat

related topics
{county, mile, population}
{area, part, region}
{government, party, election}
{law, state, case}
{city, large, area}
{city, population, household}
{area, community, home}
{town, population, incorporate}
{borough, population, unit_pref}
{rate, high, increase}
{township, household, population}

A county seat is an administrative center for a county or civil parish, primarily used in the United States. In the Northeast United States, the statutory term often is shire town,[1] but colloquially county seat is the term in use there. Parts of the Canadian Maritimes also use the term shire town. In England, Wales and Ireland, the term county town is used. This term is still sometimes used colloquially in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but today neither are divided into administrative counties – instead being divided, respectively, into council areas and districts. Louisiana uses parishes instead of counties, and the administrative center is a parish seat. Alaska is organized into "boroughs", which are large districts, and the administrative center is known as a borough seat.

United States counties, as in England and Canada, function as administrative subdivisions of a state and have no sovereign jurisdiction of their own, although some have authority to enact and enforce municipal ordinances. Counties administer state or provincial law at the local level as part of the decentralization of state/provincial authority. In many U.S. states, state government is further decentralized by dividing counties into townships, to provide local government services to residents of the county who do not live in incorporated cities or towns.

A county seat is usually, but not always, an incorporated municipality. The exceptions include, but are not limited to, the county seats of counties that have no incorporated municipalities within their borders, such as Arlington County, Virginia 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.) The county courthouse and county administration are usually located in the county seat, but some functions may also be conducted in other parts of the county, especially if it is geographically large.

Connecticut and Rhode Island have no county level of government and thus no county seats; in those states, counties exist today as little more than lines drawn on a map. Vermont has shire towns but little county government, consisting only of a Superior Court and Sheriff (as an officer of the court). In Massachusetts, most government functions which would otherwise be performed by county governments in other states are performed by town governments (there are no unincorporated areas in the state, that is, all land area in the state is within a town). 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 former counties. Two counties in South Dakota, Shannon County, and Todd County, 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.[citation needed]

Full article ▸

related documents
Oswego County, New York
Onondaga County, New York
Carroll County, Maryland
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Broome County, New York
Cattaraugus County, New York
Oneida County, New York
Surry County, North Carolina
Ontario County, New York
Schuyler County, New York
San Bernardino County, California
Wayne County, Michigan
Henrico County, Virginia
Essex County, New Jersey
Niagara County, New York
Monroe County, New York
Berrien County, Michigan
Cayuga County, New York
LaGrange County, Indiana
Riley County, Kansas
Los Angeles County, California
Alameda County, California
Jefferson County, New York
Huron County, Michigan
Keweenaw County, Michigan
Chase County, Kansas
Leelanau County, Michigan
Saginaw County, Michigan
Greeley County, Kansas
Franklin County, Kansas