Administrative Responsibilities
The board of county commissioners is the county's legislative authority.  Benton County is one of the 34 out of 39 Washington State counties that follow the commissioner form of government. The commissioners serve as the chief administrators for several important county operations and have some quasi-judicial duties, as well.

The three county commissioners in each county are elected to four-year terms.  The county is divided into three districts on the basis of population and at the time of election, each commissioner must live in and represent his/her district.  The commissioners are partisan and are nominated in a primary election embracing only their particular district.  All the voters in the county are given an opportunity in the general election to select the commissioner who will ultimately serve.

Under rules devised by each board, the commissioners meet at such frequency and at such locations as deemed necessary, and a chair is elected to preside over these meetings.

As administrators, commissioners are responsible for:
  • Public roads and public works programs
  • Public health services
  • Planning and zoning of unincorporated areas
  • Emergency services or civil defense programs
  • County park and recreation systems
  • Other services and programs which are not clearly the responsibility of another elected county official
County commissioners have a key role in a wide variety of community boards and commissions which affect citizens within and even beyond their jurisdictions.  Commissioners often serve on a variety of multi-county boards (such as library and health), with other public officials, to direct public policy.  Within the county structure, commissioners are also responsible for adopting members of county boards and commissions (such as parks and planning).

In their judicial capacity, the commissioners are often called upon as the first level of appeal to sit in judgment of decisions made by other county officials.  Rezoning recommendations from the planning commission, for instance, are appealed to the commissioners for review.  The commissioners can sit as a Board of Equalization to review property assessments established by the county assessor, which are disputed by property owners.


    Benton County    620 Market Street    Prosser, Washington 99350
    Phone: (509) 786-5710 or (509) 783-1310
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