Berkshire County, Massachusetts

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Berkshire County is a non-governmental county located on the western edge of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of 2000, the population was 134,953. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield. The Berkshire Hills are centered on Berkshire County, and the county itself is often referred to simply as "the Berkshires".

Contents

Law and government

Of the fourteen Massachusetts counties, Berkshire County is one of seven that exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government. All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 2000. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, but there is no county council or commissioner. However, communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. The towns of Berkshire County have formed such a regional compact known as the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.

Berkshire County has three (3) Registry of Deeds Districts, Northern, Middle, and Southern.

  • Berkshire Northern District is located in Adams, MA and records for the city of North Adams and the towns of Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Hancock, Lanesborough, New Ashford, Savoy, Williamstown and Windsor.
  • Berkshire Middle District is located in Pittsfield MA and records for the city of Pittsfield and the towns of Becket, Dalton, Hinsdale, Lee, Lenox, Otis, Peru, Richmond, Stockbridge, Tyringham and Washington.
  • Berkshire Southern District is located in Great Barrington, MA and records for the towns of Alford, Egremont, Great Barrington, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Sandisfield, Sheffield and West Stockbridge.

Berkshire County is located in the Massachusetts's 1st congressional district, a primarily rural district that makes up most of Western Massachusetts.

The General Court of Massachusetts is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the Colonial Era, when this body also sat in judgment of judicial appeals cases. Before the adoption of the state constitution in 1780, it was called the "Great and General Court," but the official title was shortened by John Adams, author of the state constitution, apparently in the name of republican simplicity. It is a bicameral body. The upper house is the Massachusetts Senate which is composed of 40 members. The lower body, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, has 160 members.

Berkshire County has four (4) districts and elected Representatives in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

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