What is a County Judge?
The chief executive officer for county government in Arkansas is the county judge. As chief executive, the judge authorizes and approves the disbursement of all appropriated county funds, operates the system of county roads, administers ordinances enacted by the quorum court, has custody of county property, accepts grants from federal, state, public and private sources, hires county employees except those persons employed by other elected officials of the county, and presides over the quorum court without a vote, but with the power of veto. (A.C.A. 14-14-1101 – 1102)
All powers not vested in the county judge as the chief executive officer of the county shall continue to be exercised and administered by the county court, over which the county judge shall preside. The county court, in fact, is the county judge sitting in a judicial role.
In addition to the duties of the county court, the county judge is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day inter-governmental relations between the various state and federal agencies operating at the county level. The judge must also apply for all federal and state assistance moneys for which the county is eligible and appoints the members to all administrative and advisory boards in the county, some of which have to be confirmed by the quorum court.
The county court of each county has exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters relating to:
- County Taxes: Including real and personal ad valorem taxes collected by county government. The county court’s authority in this area incudes jurisdiction over the assessment of property, equalization of assessments on appeal, tax levies, tax collections, and the distribution of tax proceeds.
- Paupers: The court’s jurisdiction includes all county administrative actions affecting the conduct of human services programs serving indigent residents of the county where such services are financed in total or in part by county funds.
- Jurisdiction in each other case that may be necessary to the internal improvement and local concerns of the respective counties including county financial activities and works of general public utility or advantage designed to promote intercommunication, trade and commerce, transportation of persons and property, or the development of natural resources, which are not otherwise transferred to the county judges to be administered in an executive capacity.
- The county court shall have all other jurisdiction now vested by law in thee county court except with respect to those powers formerly vested in the county court under the provisions of Section 28 of Article 7 of the Constitution which were transferred to the county judge under the provisions of Section 3 of Amendment 55 to the Arkansas Constitution, (and those powers removed by Amendment 67 as the pertain to the apprenticeship of minors. (A.C.A. 14-14-1105)