The counties of Florida play a special role because of the settlement patterns of the state. Nearly half the population lives outside a city, and many others reside in a small municipality. For many citizens the local government they know and on which they depend is one of 67 counties. These units cover every inch of Florida and so every citizen is a county resident.
The quality of life, then, depends very much on the functioning of these counties. They must be organized, managed, and financed so as to provide a huge variety of services to a society that is heavily urbanized. This book seeks to make the reader well aware of these obligations, and it introduces a companion principle, home rule. The counties must have the operating freedom and the resources to meet their responsibilities, and that flexibility must be provided by higher levels of government, particularly the State.
The finances of counties, as well as other local governments, were being publicly debated in 2007-2008. Two chapters of this book provide important perspectives on the issues involved.