Jay County, Indiana

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Indiana county number 38

Jay County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2000, the population was 21,806. The county seat is Portland[1].



Jay County was formed in 1836. It is the only county in the United States named for John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers, Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation, and first Chief Justice of the United States. John Jay died in 1829.


The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.[2][3]

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.[2][3]

Court: The county maintains circuit and superior courts with the latter having a small claims division. Both courts have general jurisidction with the circuit court having exlcusive jurisidiction of juvenile and probate matters. The judges of each court are elected to a six (6) year term and must be admitted to practice law before the state supreme court. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.[3]

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