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Posted on: February 19, 2021

'What Exactly Does the County Do?'

County Org Chart

We've recently had some great conversations with residents but one common inquiry we get is 'What exactly does the county do?'. It's a great question!

For the most part, counties are really an arm of the state. County elected officials and their offices provide services at the local level that are mandated by the State of Idaho. In general, counties:

Hold elections, assess property, collect property taxes, provide district court services, provide county law enforcement, run the county jail, provide public defense and prosecution in the courts, carry out juvenile justice programs, run solid waste services (transfer stations and landfills), provide 911 service, run probation programs, oversee county planning & zoning, record public documents, provide noxious weeds programs, oversee emergency management, and carry out licensing services (drivers and vehicle).

All of this is paid for out of only one portion of your property tax bill (typically the amount on first line of the overall bill).

What county officials don't do is create or change state law. The county assessor can't change homeowner's exemption limits, for example, and county officials can't cap taxes. The county clerk oversees court functions but doesn't decide how many judges to have in the district court. All of those decisions are made at the state level and counties just provide the related services. Learn more on our website at and view our org chart at

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