ALLEGANY COUNTY

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


[photo, County Office Building, 701 Kelly Road, Cumberland, Maryland] From Allegany County's creation in 1789 until 1829, the General Assembly enacted legislation for the County. With the establishment of the Board of Commissioners in 1829, the Board has had the authority to act in a legislative capacity only with express prior consent from the General Assembly.


County Office Building, 701 Kelly Road, Cumberland, Maryland, July 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS

Early executive functions in Allegany County focused on the levying and collection of taxes.

County Court. In 1789, the first year of Allegany County’s formation, the County Court Justices were authorized to assess County charges and levy taxes, which were collected by the Commissioners of the Tax.

Levy Court. By the Court Reform Law of 1790 all nonjudicial powers transferred from the County Court to the Levy Court, thereby empowering the Levy Court to assume the executive functions of County Government (Chapter 62, Acts of 1790). So authorized, the Levy Court began to assess County charges and levy taxes; adjust ordinary County expenses; appoint tax collectors, constables, road overseers, and commissioners; and contract for builders to repair buildings and bridges.

From 1790 to 1799, the Levy Court met in Cumberland on the south side of Green Street at Abraham Faw’s Tavern. Thereafter, the Levy Court met at the first County Courthouse, which was built in 1799.

Originally, five members constituted the Levy Court. They were appointed by the Governor from the Justices of the Peace of the County. In 1829, voters began to elect a nine-member Levy Court to two-year terms (Chapter 25, Acts of 1829). By 1836, a new election district required an additional member (Chapter 106, Acts of 1836). In 1854, the Court was reduced to five members (Chapter 297, Acts of 1854). With a constitutional amendment in 1922, the term in all counties was set at four years (Chapter 227, Acts of 1922).

LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS

Board of County Commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners in 1829 assumed the executive duties of the Levy Court and certain legislative functions (Chapter 25, Acts of 1829).

Today, the Board of County Commissioners consists of three members who are elected by the voters to four-year terms. From among its members, the Board selects the Chair for a four-year term.

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