Portage County wants to serve its residents in the
most effective way possible. In order to improve our community, we
are asking for your help in completing an online survey. As an
important part of the community, we look forward to hearing your
comments on community services and events.
Click here to complete the brief, (5 questions) online survey.
History of County Government
The role of county government as an
administrative arm of the state and a unit of self government can be
traced as far back as 603 A.D. to an area in southern England that
was divided by a king into territories which became known as
"shires". Shires were controlled by the monarchy through the
appointment of a governing official.
The term shire was used in England until the fifteenth century
when the term "county" was adopted. Since the county was the chief
administrative area, the concept of local control and responsiveness
to the people became a basic principle of English heritage. County
government evolved in England over several centuries and was brought
to the United States with the English colonizers.
American independence fostered numerous changes to American
government, including the strengthening of state governments and
more defined county roles. Today there are 3,139 county-type
governments in the United States.
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