According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “county” can be traced to the late 14th century English term for “shire, a definite division of a country or state for political and administrative purposes.”
Counties have been providing essential services to people for more than 500 years and are almost as old as the Magna Carta. Coconino County even predates the formation of the State of Arizona.
This month, in coordination with the National Association of Counties (NACo), Coconino County is celebrating County Government Month. We take pride in our responsibility to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of our residents in cost-effective ways. This year, Coconino County is focusing on the critical role that counties play in connecting people through our responsibilities of promoting public health, ensuring public safety and promoting local economies.
As a political subdivision of the state, Coconino County holds elections, assesses property, collects and distributes taxes, performs a wide variety of court and justice activities and delivers public health and social services. The state created counties to manage these services on a regional basis.
Counties also help shape communities through collaborative planning and zoning partnerships; grow and strengthen the economy by building infrastructure and maintaining roads and bridges; and provide public safety, health care and education.
As we saw last year with the Tinder Fire, the North Schultz Area Flood and with this year’s record-breaking snowstorm, counties partner with the state, cities and federal agencies to provide critical emergency response during disasters. Our Emergency Management team is the key liaison to get first responders what they need. They also work with area partners like the United Way and Red Cross to set up emergency shelters and get services for people displaced from their homes.
The county celebrates the wide diversity of people and culture of our residents and team members throughout the year. We established the tri-diversity councils (Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council, Inter-Tribal Advisory Council and the African American Advisory Council), which work with the county to promote cultural awareness. Cultural events are conducted throughout the year, such as the Cesar Chavez Breakfast, the Inter-Tribal Community Forum and Juneteenth events, which celebrate the contributions and achievements of the diverse people in our county.
During this month, we will also recognize the impact and contributions of our dedicated public servants who strive each day to enhance the communities within the county. These are your friends, family and neighbors. Without their professionalism, we wouldn’t be able to deliver services as efficiently as we do.
We encourage county residents to celebrate with us and learn more about the innovative services we provide and how we impact their daily lives. Feel free to follow us on social media or contact the county via our website at coconino.az.gov. We look forward to continuing our service and making Coconino County a great place to live, work and play. FBN
By James Jayne
James Jayne is the Coconino County manager.