Delaware County is governed by a five-member County Council, which replaced the three-member Board of County Commissioners as the governing body of the County in January 1976, when the Home Rule Charter went into effect. The actual expansion of Council to five members occurred in January 1978.
Council is responsible for all legislative and administrative functions of the County government. Although Council has overall responsibility for all action of County departments, the Executive Director, a County Council appointee, is directly responsible for the operations of certain departments as outlined in the Home Rule Charter or Administrative Code, or as assigned by the Executive Director and the County Clerk. Legal guidance and representation is provided by the Solicitor.
Members of Council are elected to four-year terms at staggered two-year intervals in years when municipal elections are held, which occur in odd-numbered years. Council organizes the first Monday of each even-numbered year when the members elect one of their own to serve as Chairman and one to service as Vice Chairman.
The powers and duties of Council are many and varied. The Home Rule Charter provides Council with the authority to pass ordinances, resolutions and proclamations and to provide budgets and personnel to meet the needs of the people of Delaware County as they arise.
Council is responsible for adopting a budget each calendar year. The budget includes setting personal and real estate tax rates and fees to raise the funds needed to meet the needs of the budget. To raise money for major capital projects, Council sells tax-exempt municipal bonds which are paid off at predetermined intervals over a certain number of years. Many social programs are primarily funded by federal and state grants, which are forwarded to the County government for distribution.
Payroll scales and the number of employees necessary to perform County services, including judicial offices, are set by Council.
Council decides the best means of providing services which are required by law or are necessary for the well-being of the County, and determines the degree of participation of the County in the intergovernmental programs involving federal, state and local governments.
County Council is involved in such diverse activities as economic development, public transportation, waste disposal, human services, housing, land use and culture.