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Citizen Participation Guide > Clark County Government

Clark County Government

If you want to get involved in an issue or project, the first step is to know which county department or outside agency is responsible for the project or issue. Having a basic understanding of who provides specific services can help. Sometimes you have to do a little homework to determine where to start.

If you live in a city or town, a good place to start is city hall. City governments generally provide urban services such as water and sewer, road repair, and neighborhood parks within individual city limits.

Within the boundaries of Clark County, you’ll find not only cities, but numerous special service districts, including fire, school and cemetery districts, which provide specific services. Each has its own board and authority.

The Clark County connection

Clark County government is the only local jurisdiction that deals with the county's entire geographic area. Its structure is complex, with 24 elected officials, 13 regional councils and districts, and numerous appointed boards. The elected officials are the Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, Clerk, Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff, District Court and Superior Court judges and the Board of County Councilors.

The county provides regional services with more than 600 programs. Many provide services to all residents, whether they live in a city or the unincorporated area. Some of these services are mandated by the state, including courts, adult and juvenile jails and land-use planning.

The three-member Board of County Councilors has overall responsibility for departments not managed by other elected officials, such as Public Works and Community Services. The board also has responsibility for adoption of the biennial county budget and all county ordinances. Appointed by the board, a county manager has direct day-to-day management responsibilities for these departments. In January 2016, the board will increase to five members, with an elected chair.

Like the federal and state governments, the county and cities in it have different responsibilities. But they also work as partners to make the best use of public resources. For example, the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency, which provides 9-1-1 emergency dispatch and other emergency programs, is made possible by a series of interlocal agreements among the county, cities, local law enforcement, fire districts and related agencies.

To find out more about the specific types of services county departments provide, please look at the Clark County organization chart. The chart lists all county departments, elected officials and telephone numbers. It’s a good place to start when determining whom to call and how to get involved.

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Public Information and Outreach
Director: Mary Keltz

Street address: 1300 Franklin Street, Floor 6, Vancouver, WA 98660
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
Main phone: (360) 397-6012 | FAX: (360) 397-6015
Responsible elected official: Board of Clark County Commissioners

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