What do county commissioners do?
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC, Board, or Commissioners) is the governing body of Canyon County. Consisting of three elected officials, the Board serves as the county’s budget and taxing authority, its legislative body, and chief executive authority.
Among other duties, the Board enacts laws, ensures compliance of laws and secures professional services for the county. Under Article 18, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution, two county commissioners are elected every four years – one for a two-year term and one for a four-year term. State law specifies the procedure for determining which commissioner is to be elected for a four-year term, and which is to be elected for a two-year term (Idaho Code §31-703).
The Commissioners are constitutional officers whose authority encompasses both the executive and legislative body for the county. In general, this authority is described by Chapters 7 and 8 of Title 31, Idaho Code. As the county’s legislative authority, the Board has the power to enact ordinances, resolutions and proclamations. Ordinances are laws enacted by a local legislative authority. They may govern matters not already covered by state or federal law or may supplement (but cannot supersede) existing state or federal law. They are intended to affect the general public and are typically permanent in nature.
Ordinances enacted by the Board are effective only in the unincorporated area of Canyon County unless specifically provided for in state law. A resolution is a formal expression of the opinion or will of an official body adopted by vote in a legislative action. Resolutions are less formal than an ordinance, are administrative in nature, and typically concern internal government operations. Resolutions are usually considered to be temporary in nature, but often have a long-term effect. While both ordinances and resolutions are legally binding, proclamations are non-binding formal public declarations.
As part of the executive branch of government, the Board is charged with taking actions and providing resources to ensure compliance with its legally mandated duties and to ensure that the ordinances it enacts are carried out. Such duties include enforcement of land use ordinances and building codes, setting of precinct boundaries, and the budgetary powers of appropriation, among others. The Board is also charged with the oversight of the official conduct of all county officers, though this authority is limited under Idaho law. The Board has additional duties as the Board of Canvassers of Election, certifying true and complete abstracts of all votes cast in all elections. The Board also sits as the Board of Equalization (BOE) to hear property assessment appeals and assure that the market value for assessment purposes has been appropriately established.