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charters. (Article XI, section 72.) But such charters must provide for the election or appointment of practically the same officers ? as are found in counties that are governed according to general laws; and their powers and duties must be the same. The uniformity of county government in its essential features will therefore not be disturbed. The lack of uniformity will appear only in respect to the manner of selecting officers, their terms of office, their compensation, and the manner of filling vacancies.
THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS 8 sp. 41. Organization. — The board of supervisors of each county, except the incorporated city and county of San Francisco, consists of five members. Each member is elected for four years by one of the five supervisorial districts into which the county is divided. Either two or three are elected every even-numbered year.
The board elects one of its members chairman. The county clerk or a deputy appointed by him is its secretary. Three members constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of three is necessary to pass a measure.? The board must hold regular meetings at the county seat as often as it shall determine. Special meetings may be held at any time.
“ All meetings must be public, and the books, records, and accounts of the board must be kept at the
1 Provision must be made for such officers as are required to be elected or appointed in other counties. The amendment permits such charters to provide for necessary additional officers, which may or may not be the same as those that are appointed in other counties at the discretion of the supervisors.
2 An act of the board may be a simple order, a resolation, or an ordinance. The word law should be reserved for the acts of Congress and state legislatures. An order or resolution of the board of supervisors may take effect at once, but an ordinance cannot be enforced for fifteen days, during which time it must be published for at least one week. (See $ 72.)
office of the clerk, open at all times for public inspection.” 1 “Within ten days after each session of the board, it shall cause to be published a fair statement of all its proceedings.” It has power to require the sheriff, or one of his deputies, to attend all of its meetings“ to preserve order, serve notices, subpænas, citations, and other process, as directed by the board."
42. The Powers and Duties of the Board of Supervisors. — Only the most important of the powers and duties of the board of supervisors will be given. Any one desiring mode detailed information is referred to the Political Code of California of which the “County Government Act” is a part ($ 4049-8 4056).
1. The board is the business head of the county government. It provides and furnishes office rooms for all county officers, and purchases supplies and all necessary equipment for the various offices and institutions. It supervises the erection of county buildings, keeps them in repair, sees that they are insured, and employs janitors and gardeners to keep them and the grounds around them clean and in good condition. It has charge of county property, directs the prosecution of lawsuits in the name of the county, and, in general, represents it in all business transactions.
2. The board supervises the official conduct of all county officers who have any part in collecting, safe-keeping, or disbursing the public revenues; and examines and audits their accounts at least once year. It also has power to supervise the official conduct of all officers who handle the revenues of public corporations in the county, other than cities.
1 Political Code of California, $ 4033.
2 Ibid., $ 4049.
3. The board levies county taxes; that is, it determines annually the amount that property owners must pay on each one hundred dollars' worth of property. This is called the tax rate, and must be levied not later than the third Monday in September. The board also levies taxes for all public corporations in the county, except cities. If a public corporation wishes to impose a tax upon itself, its officers call an election, and, if a majority of the votes cast are favorable to the tax, the matter is reported to the board of supervisors, which levies the tax at the same time that it levies the county tax.
4. The board equalizes assessments. If a property owner thinks that the assessor has valued his property too high, he may complain to the board of supervisors when it sits as a county board of equalization (between the first and third Mondays in July), and the board has power to lower the assessment. It also has power to increase the assessment on any piece of property.
5. It divides the county into judicial townships, and election, school, road, supervisorial, and other districts.
6. It has control of all county, state, and national elections within the county; that is, it divides the county into election precincts, appoints election officers, canvasses election returns, and appropriates money from the county treasury to pay the election expenses.
7. It has charge of county roads and bridges and for this purpose divides the county into road districts. These often coincide with the supervisorial districts, in which case each supervisor often acts as roadmaster for his district. In some counties a greater number of districts are required, and each supervisor appoints a roadmaster
1 A tax may be imposed on a school district without an election.
for each road district in his supervisorial district. The board has power to levy a special road tax, not to exceed twenty cents on each one hundred dollars' worth of property in the county, outside of incorporated towns and cities. It may also impose a road poll tax not to exceed three dollars on every able-bodied man between the ages of twenty-one and fifty-five living in the county outside of cities. No more money may be spent in any road district than the amount collected therein, except by a twothirds vote of the board. Caring for the roads includes grading, oiling, sprinkling, and other necessary work.
8. The board must care for the indigent sick and the dependent poor. For this purpose it may provide, by lease or purchase, hospitals and poor farms, and has power to impose special taxes for their maintenance.
9. It has power to license all lawful business enterprises carried on in the county, and determines the amount of the license in every case where it is not fixed by law.
10. It has power to establish a free county library at the county seat for the benefit of all parts of the county outside of library districts and incorporated towns which maintain public libraries; and to tax the property in the parts of the county benefited, for the support of the library, not in excess of ten cents on the hundred dollars. The librarian of such a library must be appointed by the board, but he must hold a librarian's certificate granted by the state board of library examiners, which consists of the state
1 An incorporated town or city located in a road district is not part of the district. It cares for its own streets, and does not share in the burden of caring for the county roads. The law, however, provides that county bonds for the construction of “main public highways” may be issued, a main public highway being defined as a highway connecting two cities. The property of the entire county, including cities, would of course be taxed to redeem the bonds. See also section 71 of article XI of the state constitution.
librarian at Sacramento and the librarians of San Francisco and Los Angeles. ($ 172.)
County libraries with numerous branches have been established in many counties. The branches in any county are supplied with books - which are frequently changed — from the main library. The state coöperates with the counties in this matter, and books are sent on request at state expense from the state library in Sacramento to county libraries and their branches. Thus a great state library system has been established by which the people of our most remote districts may be supplied with books at little trouble and at no expense to themselves.
II. The board has power to grant franchises for the use of the public roads by private corporations, such as street car and railroad companies.
12. It must provide for the burial of the indigent dead.
13. It has power to provide for the protection of trees, vines, cereals, vegetables, and other plants against weeds, and animal and insect pests; also to provide for the protection of live stock against diseases.
14. It has power to pass ordinances for the protection of fish and game. Such ordinances must of course not be in conflict with state law. They may shorten, but cannot lengthen, the fish or game seasons established by law.
15. It has power to aid the state and national authorities in caring for the forests and in preventing forest fires.
16. It has power to make and enforce “all such local police, sanitary, and other regulations as are not in conflict with general laws.” By the police power of the board is meant its power to pass ordinances for the preservation of order, and for the protection of life, property, the public health, the public convenience, the public taste, and the