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4. What legislative powers have the county boards ? What administrative powers ?
5. What judicial officers has a county ?
6. What other county officers are there in the State in which you live? For what terms are they selected? What are their duties?
7. What is meant by posse comitatus ? Of whom does it consist ?
8. What officer does Massachusetts have instead of a coroner? Why is the Massachusetts plan preferable to that of most other States?
9. Who grants marriage licenses in the State in which you live? Who records deeds ?
10. Explain how the New England town or township originated.
11. What does “town” mean in New England ? What does it mean in the South and West?
12. What powers do New England towns possess ?
13. Explain the work done by a town-meeting. What is a town 66 warrant”? What is a moderator? What are the duties of the selectmen ?
14. What are the benefits of a New England town-meeting?
15. How are the various town or township officers selected in New England ? For what term ?
16. By what name are the districts known into which the counties of your state are divided ?
17. Explain to what extent the Central States imitated New England township government.
18. Why are townships less important in States having numerous villages than in New England ?
19. Describe the county-township conflict in Illinois. In what division of States are counties least important?
20. In your State what title is applied to township officers, such as the "selectmen” in New England ?
21. What is meant by a governmental or a geographical township? How did they come into existence, and why are they useful ?
22. Explain how a survey of land is described where geographical townships exist.
QUESTIONS FOR DiscuSSION
1. Give the names of as many county officers as you know. 2. Bound the county in which you live. 3. If you had a vote would you vote for a member of the county board of commissioners or supervisors who favors low taxes or high taxes ?
4. Could your county board enact an ordinance requiring all heavy vehicles to have wide tires? If not, what body could give it authority to do so ?
5. In Virginia each city of the first class forms a separate county. Should not county and city government be merged so as to save the expense of a double organization ?
6. Some Southern counties have dispensed with a county treasurer and the taxes are collected and warrants paid by a designated bank for about half the usual cost. Do you favor this new plan?
7. In California and in Maryland a county may have a charter and govern itself much as a city is governed. That is, a county may have a greater degree of “home rule” than the other counties of the State if the majority vote in favor of a charter. Would you favor a law permitting your county to have a council and a greater degree of “ home rule”?
8. Write a county ordinance which you would like your county board to enact. It should begin : “ Resolved, that” etc.
9. Does your State have the county system of government, township system, or county-township system? What are the merits of each? Which has the greater educational value? Which is more efficient? Which is more expensive ?
10. If you live in a township name as many township officers as
11. May women vote for any township officers ? May they serve as township officers? For what offices are they best fitted ?
12. The Torrens System of title registration, devised by Sir Robert Torrens for Australia in 1857, has been adopted by a number of American States. It provides for the conveyance of real property by registration and certificate instead of deeds. An officer of the government investigates all the documentary evidence of title, descriptions of boundaries, etc. The owner is furnished a certificate giving details of the title which he has to the property, and a duplicate is filed with the county or township registrar. When the property is sold, the owner merely delivers the certificate to the new owner, and has the fact entered at the registrar's office. This does away with the necessity of repeated title examinations and the cost of having a deed written. Would you favor this system for your State?
VILLAGE AND CITY GOVERNMENT
I. VILLAGE GOVERNMENT
212. “Village” Defined. — A village is an organized community whose population is less and whose government is more simple than that of cities in the same State. When enough people collect in a district sufficiently compact to justify such public improvements as sidewalks, street lights, and a public supply of water, a State permits them to form a government separate from that of the township or county in order that they may select officers, collect taxes, and provide these public conveniences within the defined area.
In the New England States villages have not been created, except in a few cases in Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut, because there the township itself is sufficiently organized to collect taxes and provide these public conveniences.
In the West and South the small incorporated centres of population are called “ towns,” but in the States east of the Mississippi River which border on Canada they are more generally known as “ villages,” and in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut the English term “borough” is commonly used. However, for the sake of uniformity, the term “village” will be used to include towns and small boroughs.
213. How Villages are Incorporated. - Each State prescribes under what conditions and in what manner a community may become incorporated as a village. In Alabama 100 inhabitants are all that are necessary, but a minimum of 200 or 300 is a more common requirement. Some States further specify that the required number of inhabitants must reside within a prescribed area a square mile in New York State.
In some States a community may become an incorporated village by a charter enacted by the State legislature, but the usual procedure is for the inhabitants to present to a designated public officer a petition with a prescribed number of signatures. When this officer is satisfied that the conditions necessary to become a village are fulfilled, he will declare that the people living within a certain surveyed area are incorporated 1 as the village of X and have such powers of self-government as the State has granted to villages. In most States the officer may not declare a village incorporated until the inhabitants have voted in favor of it at an election called by the officer when petitioned to do so by a prescribed number of the inhabitants.
214. Powers of Villages. — The few incorporated villages of New England continue a part of the township for many important purposes, such as roads and schools, but may provide for sidewalks, water, lights, sewers, fire protection, and police protection, independently of the township. In those States which adopted the New England township system the villages remain a part of the township for certain purposes, but are more independent of the township than those in New England.
In certain other States, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas, the villages are entirely independent of the township and have power to perform township functions in addition to the usual village functions. In the South and West villages, called “towns," are usually included in the township, or county district known by some other name, but as these districts are unimportant the village has power to deal with practically all local problems except those attended to directly by the county.
215. The Organization of Village Government. The Council. — Every village has a legislative body usually known as the council or the board of trustees. This body varies in number from three to nine, and is usually elected at large for terms
1“Incorporated” means created into a legal body (artificial person) by the State. This body may then bring suit in court, borrow money, or enter into other contracts as a natural person may do.
of one or two years. In all States the council has power to determine the tax rate, within certain limits prescribed by the State, and to appropriate the money for the various needs of the village.
Generally it can levy special assessments against persons whose property borders streets which have been especially favored by sidewalks or other improvements; but villages have rather limited power to borrow money, and most villages must submit the question of a bond issue to the voters. The power to pass ordinances differs from State to State and often from village to village as provided by the State. Commonly a council may choose certain officers and regulate their duties; pass health and police ordinances on special subjects within certain limits; determine the license taxes of movies, peddlers, public vehicles, and other businesses that are licensed ; control streets, bridges, and public grounds; maintain police and firemen; and control any public services owned by the village, such as water and light plants.
The Mayor. — The principal executive officer of a village is usually called “mayor” or “president,” and is ordinarily
” elected for one or two years. He presides over council meetings, and usually has the rights of a member, but in some villages he merely casts the deciding vote in case of a tie, and in
very few places does he have the veto power. He enforces the village ordinances enacted by the council, and in a number of States he acts as police justice.
Every village has a clerk or recorder, a treasurer or collector, and a police officer (“constable," “marshal," "sergeant,” or “ bailiff”). There are, in many places, a street commissioner, an assessor, and an attorney or solicitor. In the West these officers are usually elected by the voters; in other sections they are commonly selected by the council or appointed. Some villages have a justice of the peace, and if the village forms a separate school district it, of course, has school officers. Larger villages have such officers as health, fire, lighting, sewer, or cemetery commissioners.