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Duties of a County Commissioner

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Counties in North Carolina are governed by an elected board of county commissioners. In Orange County, commissioners serve four-year terms. The Board of County Commissioners have many duties and authorities, including:

  • Adopting the county's annual budget by June 30 of each year
  • Establishing the annual property tax rate
  • Appointing the county manager, county clerk, county attorney and tax administrator
  • Appointing various officials and representatives to advisory boards and commissions
  • Providing funding for construction of public school facilities for both public school systems in the county
  • Determining level of local current expense funding for both public school systems in the county (Orange County currently ranked No. 1 in the state in local per pupil funding for 2015-16 year)
  • Regulating land-use and zoning outside municipal boundaries
  • Providing for safety and welfare of all Orange County residents
  • Long-range planning for county needs (Capital Investment Plan)
  • Photo of County CommissionersEnacting local ordinances
  • Calling for bond referenda
  • Entering into contracts
  • Establishing new programs and departments
  • Serve as liaisons to local, state and federal boards and commissions

Frequently asked questions
  1. What are the requirements to be a county commissioner? To be eligible to serve as a county commissioner, you must reside in the county you wish to serve, be a registered voter and be at least 21 years of age. There are no other formal requirements, and there are no limitations on how many terms a commissioner can serve.
  2. How are commissioners elected? In Orange County, commissioners are elected with a combination of at-large and district seats. Two commissioners are elected at-large (countywide) and five commissioners are elected from one of two districts. Three commissioners are elected from District 1, which represents the southern part of the county. Two commissioners are elected from District 2, which represents the northern part of the county. In the primary, residents in the districts only vote for commissioners running in their district, plus the at-large seats. In the general elections, residents vote for all seats. All commissioners serve four-year terms.

Board of County Commissioners Goals and Priorities
  1. Ensure a community network of basic human services and infrastructure that maintains, protects, and promotes the well-being of all county residents.
  2. Implement planning and economic development policies which create a balanced, dynamic local economy, and which promote diversity, sustainable growth, and enhanced revenue while embracing community values.
  3. Promote an interactive and engaging system of governance that reflects community values.
  4. Invest in quality County facilities, a diverse work force, and technology to achieve a high performing County government.
  5. Create, preserve, and protect a natural environment that includes clean water, clean air, wildlife, important natural lands, and sustainable energy for present and future generations.
  6. Ensure a high quality of life and lifelong learning that champions diversity, education at all levels, libraries, parks, recreation, and animal welfare.