Jefferson County, Indiana

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Indiana county number 39

Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2000, the population was 31,705. The county seat is Madison[1].

Contents

History

Jefferson County was formed in 1811. It was named for Thomas Jefferson, principal draftsman of the Northwest Ordinance and President of the United States from 1801 through 1809.[2]

Jefferson County was one of Indiana's first counties and many important early Hoosiers hailed from Madison, including William Hendricks. Throughout the early history of the state, Madison was one of the leading cities competing with Vincennes and later New Albany to be the largest city in the state. The county fell into economic decline after the American Civil War as industry began to shift from southern Indiana to the northern part of the state.

On the evening of the May 20, 2009 the county courthouse caught fire. The fire began in the steeple of the courthouse which was under construction for the Madison's bicentennial anniversary. The roof of the dome had just been painted gold. Fire departments from across southern Indiana and northern Kentucky arrived to put out the fire which burned for several hours, destroyed much of the inside of the building and the county records. The fire necessitated the evacuation of the nearby county jail, and effectively shut down the downtown area of the city.[3] It was later determined the fire was accidentally started by workers who were welding on the metal roof dome.

Government

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.[4][5]

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