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public morals. It is an extensive power. By virtue of it the board may license and regulate the conduct of lawful business enterprises, may close disorderly places, may prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors, may regulate the speed of vehicles on public roads, may regulate the keeping and storing of dynamite and other explosives, may establish a public pound for the care of stray animals, and so on. The police power of the board extends throughout the county outside of incorporated towns and cities.
43. The General Character of Supervisors' Work. — It is customary to speak of the board of supervisors of a county as the legislative department of the county government; but this is somewhat misleading because it assumes that the government of a county is divided into legislative, executive, and judịcial departments, — an assumption which is not true. A county is an agency of the state, created for the purpose of carrying state law into execution. Its only legislative functions are to supply such details as are necessary for the execution of state law, and to determine whether or not it will exercise certain optional powers granted by law. The board of supervisors exercises these limited legislative functions, subject to the initiative and referendum. When levying taxes and appropriating money for the maintenance of the county government, it is taking necessary steps for giving effect to state law; and when passing ordinances in the exercise of its police powers, it is making use of optional powers. The foregoing statement of the powers and duties of the board shows that, in addition to this legislative work, it renders many services that are purely executive
1 The superior and inferior courts located within a county do not constitute the judicial department of the county government, but are parts of the state judicial system. 2 The vital work of legislating for a county is thus done by the legislature.
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in character. The making of appointments, the purchasing of supplies for county offices and institutions, and the letting of contracts for any kind of public work are examples of such services.
SECTION 3. DUTIES OF OTHER COUNTY OFFICERS In the following pages the most important duties of the various county officers will be given. Persons wishing more detailed information are referred to the Political Code.
44. Duties of the County Clerk.) – 1. The county clerk is clerk of the board of supervisors. He, or a deputy appointed by him, must attend every meeting of the board, and must keep a record of all orders, resolutions, ordinances, and other proceedings. After each meeting he issues such orders, certificates, and notices as the board directs; and delivers to the auditor warrants signed by himself and the chairman of the board for all orders directing the payment of money. He attends to the publication of ordinances and other proceedings of the board. Applications for licenses and franchises, and all other communications directed to the board, must be filed in his office.
2. He is clerk of the superior court. He, or a deputy appointed by him, must attend every session of the court and keep a record of all its orders, decrees, decisions, and other proceedings, and of all cases brought before the court. He must issue such warrants, notices, citations, subpoenas, and other process as the court may require.
3. He has charge of all books, papers, and records which may be filed in his office according to law. There are many such papers; among them may be mentioned the official
1 Political Code, $ 4178.
bonds of other county officers, articles of incorporation of private corporations, and nomination papers.
4. He has important duties to perform in connection with elections. He registers voters. No one may vote until he has registered in the clerk's office his name, occupation, place and date of birth, his present address, and other items required by law (p. 29). The clerk must have printed a complete list of all registered voters. This list is called the great register, a copy of which, or as much as is necessary, must be furnished for use at every voting place in the county on election days. He must furnish all blank" forms to be used in connection with elections, such as nomination papers, ballots, and tally sheets; and all election returns are sent to his office to be canvassed by the board of supervisors. Finally, after each election, he officially notifies all successful candidates for county and township offices of their election; and sends to the secretary of state an abstract showing the result of the election in the county for state and national offices, and for constitutional amendments or other propositions.
5. He issues marriage and hunters' licenses. 4 45. Duties of the Assessor.1 1. The assessor must
assess annually all taxable property in the county as it exists on the first of March. His record showing the value placed on every item and giving the names of owners, when possible, is called the assessment roll.
2. He collects poll taxes. The state imposes a poll tax for the benefit of the state school fund on able-bodied men between the ages of twenty-one and sixty. The
1 Political Code, $ 3627 seq.
2 In some counties assessors receive fifteen per cent of the amount collected by them as poll taxes (8 38).
assessor collects this tax for the state. He also collects the road poll tax when it is imposed by the supervisors."
3. He collects personal property taxes from people who own no real estate.2
4. He must report annually to the clerk of the board of supervisors a list of the names of all men in the county between the ages of eighteen and forty-five who are not by law exempt from military duty. The law requires that when any male citizen registers as a voter, files a statement of his property in the office of the assessor for assessment purposes, or pays his poll tax, the officer or clerk who waits upon him must ascertain whether or not he is subject to military duty and must make a record in reference to it. Principals of schools where young men over eighteen attend must report a list of all such cases to the
From these sources and from any additional information that he is able to gather, the assessor must make up the military roll of the county. The clerk of the board of supervisors sends a copy of this list to the state
adjutant general in Sacramento (§ 127). 4, 46. Duties of the Tax Collector.3 – 1. The tax collector
collects all county taxes, except those collected by the assessor; the tax for all public corporations in the county, except incorporated cities;4 and any general property tax imposed by the state.5
1 The payment of poll taxes has nothing to do with the privilege of voting in California, as it has in some states.
2 Every householder is excused from paying taxes on one hundred dollars' worth of personal property.
3 Political Code, $ 3746 seq.
5 Since the adoption of a constitutional amendment in 1910 which provides that the state government shall be supported by a tax on corporations rather than by a tax ɔn general property, the county tax collectors collect practically no money for
2. He collects county license fees. He also issues such licenses as are authorized by state law, or granted by the board of supervisors, except those issued by the county clerk. For example, he issues saloon, peddlers', merchants', and auctioneers' licenses.
3. He must make a financial report to the auditor on the first Monday of each month, and, on the same day, pay the money in his possession to the treasurer.
4. He must sell to the state all real estate on which the tax is not paid, or which stands as security for unpaid taxes on personal property.
The first installment of the tax on real estate, or the entire tax on personal property which is secured by real estate, is delinquent if not paid by the last Monday in November. If paid between this date and the last Monday in April, 15 per cent is added as a penalty; after the last Monday in April another 5 per cent is added. The second installment is delinquent if not paid by the last Monday in April, after which a penalty of 5 per cent is added. On or before the fifth day of June the tax collector must publish the delinquent tax list, specifying the date on which he will sell property to the state for delinquent taxes. This date must be not less than twenty-one nor more than twenty-eight days after the first publication of the delinquent list. On the day specified the tax collector must write the words “ Sold to the State on the delinquent list opposite each piece of property affected. Owners have five years in which to redeem their property, during which time they retain possession. Property is redeemed by the payment of all back taxes, penalties, and certain costs required by law. If not redeemed within the five years, the tax collector deeds it to the state, and the original owner has no further interest in it. The tax collector must report to the auditor and the state controller in reference to all lands sold to the state, and must file all deeds for such lands in the office of the county recorder.
the state. But the state may at any time impose a tax on general property, in which case it would be collected by the county tax collectors. See section 14, article XIII, of the constitution.