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Why Are Counties Important?

Did you know that county governments were, at least in part, created to make life easier for residents? Florida’s first counties – Escambia and St. Johns – were formed in 1821.

Consider the travel situation in the 1800s. It couldn’t have been convenient for people to travel to their state capitol every time they needed to interact with government. We wouldn’t want to do that now, even though we have asphalt roads and comfortable cars. So, imagine having to make the journey via a horse-drawn wagon, on bumpy dirt roads, just to fill out paperwork or request information from the government.

County governments are not simply convenient, though. Many people would say that county government is the government level that most directly impacts residents.

Thanks to the formation of counties and the associated government structure, Polk County residents have the power to elect leaders such as county commissioners, the sheriff, the tax collector and many more. We elect the people who are responsible for managing our $2.5 billion budget, enforcing laws, carrying out state mandates, etc.

Since every county has different elected leaders, every county is unique. No two counties deliver services to residents in the same exact way, and local issues can be handled by local people developing local solutions.

From those two original counties, Florida has grown to 67 counties, making it easier than ever for the Sunshine State’s residents to get the services they need locally.

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