In The Public Interest: Know Your County Government - Meet Washtenaw County Administrator Greg Dill
This week in our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, 89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks to Washtenaw County administrator Greg Dill, as we begin a series of conversations about what happens and who's involved in Washtenaw County government.
As County Administrator, to whom do you report and what do you do?
- Elected Board of nine Commissioners
- Hire and direct County Administrator
- Sets policy
- Allocates funds
- County Administrator directs
- Service departments
- Support units
- Other elected officials run their own departments
- Water Resources Commissioner (formerly Drain Commissioner)
How big is Washtenaw County?
- population in excess of 350,000 residents
- spread across 25 local units of government
- County General fund revenue is $120 million; 61% of this comes from taxes, 19% from fees & services
- 52% of expenditures are for public safety, 21% for judicial,
Washtenaw County government does a lot of things. When are residents most likely to use or encounter county services?
- Voting (County Clerk directs all elections in co-ordination with city, village, township administrations)
- Visit a county park (over 7,300 acres of land, including over 40 nature preserves and parks.including Rolling Hills water park and Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center)
- Register a deed when you buy a house
- Apply for a marriage license
- Request a copy of a birth or a death certificate (assuming you were born in Washtenaw County)
- Apply for another kind of license or permit
- Probate an estate
- Serve on a jury
- Grow a better garden (MSU extension)
- Pay your real estate taxes (collected by cities, villages & townships, but a portion goes to the County to support county services)
How about services we hope we don’t need?
- Call 911 (county-wide dispatch coordinated by sheriff’s dept)
- Receive help after a tornado or other community emergency
- Obtain mental health services
- Need a public defender
- Report domestic violence
- Challenge your property tax assessment
What else does the county do?
- Provides for public safety and justice
- Sheriff Dept
- Prosecutor & Public Defender
- Provides Public & mental health services
- Economic development
How does the County coordinate with cities, villages or townships?
- We may work together to coordinate a service or provide the service separately.
- Elections are a joint responsibility. Residents can register to vote at their local clerk’s office or at the county clerk’s office. And elections are coordinated by the county and conducted by city/village/township clerks.
- Some units of government have their own police departments. Others contract with the Sheriff’s Office for policing service.
- The city of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Township issue their own dog licenses, but the County issues these for all other units of government.
How can I learn more about Washtenaw County government?
- Website (click here)
- Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner meetings are held 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month, 6:30 p.m., Administrative Building, 220 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor. (They are broadcast live on CTN Cable Channel 16. Replays are scheduled on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., Friday at Noon and Sunday at 7 p.m. Learn more on the Webcast page.)
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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at email@example.com