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My real property instructor wrote, "Connecticut and Rhode Island are divided into geographic regions called counties, but they do not have functioning governments, as defined by the Census Bureau."

I live in New York. I wonder what hat would be analogous to our counties in CT and RI? (I asked my instructor but he declined to answer.)

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In New England, town governments have always been relatively strong, and county governments relatively weak. Traditionally New England counties only provided courts, jails, and sheriffs. They did not provide the kind of services seen in other parts of the country, such as county roads, general government services for unincorporated areas, etc.

Connecticut now has judicial districts, which provide the courts that formerly were provided by counties. The judicial district boundaries are similar to the old county boundaries.


Added:In Connecticut and Vermont, property taxes and zoning are administered by cities and towns. Construction-related inspections tend to be done by larger cities and towns, while the state handles the smaller cities and towns.

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  • I wonder why the change.... Can you say something about real property -- which level of government handles that stuff? (Do you know anything about Rhode Island real property stuff by any chance?) – aparente001 Feb 23 at 0:04
  • My experience is with Connecticut and Vermont. Property taxes and zoning are administered by cities and towns. Construction-related inspections tend to be done by larger cities and towns, while the state handles the smaller cities and towns. – Gerard Ashton Feb 23 at 4:03
  • Also, some of what is done by counties in NY is done by state government in New England. For example, in NY state run welfare programs are administered by countries, while in New England, state government would typically do that directly. – ohwilleke Feb 25 at 0:32
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    @aparente001 "I wonder why the change." Historically, population density in New England was relatively high, while travel was hard. Also, New England towns were historically governed by direct democracy via town meetings which don't scale well. Places with county government generally had purely representative democracy with no initiatives or meeting of average citizens on policy issues. – ohwilleke Feb 25 at 0:34

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