Pinellas County was established in 1911 and is located at the approximate midpoint of the west coast of Florida, bounded on the east by Tampa Bay and on the west by the Gulf of Mexico. The County contains a total area of approximately 439 square miles, of which approximately 280 square miles are land and the balance water area. Pinellas County with an estimated 1997 permanent population of 893,468 is the most densely populated county in Florida, ranking fifth in terms of county population, with a second smallest total land area. There are 24 incorporated municipalities in Pinellas County. St. Petersburg is the largest city in the County with an estimated 1997 population of 241,810. Clearwater, the County seat, is the second largest city, with an estimated 1997 population of 103,521. Approximately 280,848 reside within unincorporated Pinellas County. In 1964, Pinellas was the first Florida County to adopt the Commission/Administrator form of Government.
Seven-Member Commission Elected to Govern County
Pinellas County, a political subdivision of the State of Florida, is guided by an elected seven-member Board of County Commissioners. The County Administrator, a professional appointed by the Board, and his staff are responsible for the implementation of Board policies.
Commissioners Serve on Other Boards
The Board of County Commissioners, also serve as the Emergency Medical Services Authority, Fire Protection Authority, Mosquito Control Board, and the Water and Navigation Authority. Individual Board members serve on various other boards, authorities, and commissions, including: Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority (Tampa Bay Water), Data Processing Board, Industry Council, Metropolitan Planning Organization, Pinellas County Arts Council, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Election Canvassing Board, Juvenile Welfare Board, and the Tourist Development Council.
Elected Officials include the Board of County Commissioners, the Judiciary, the State Attorney, Public Defender and five Constitutional Officers: the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Property Appraiser, the Sheriff, the Supervisor of Elections, and the Tax Collector. Constitutional Officers are elected to administer a specific function of County government and are directly accountable to the public for its proper operation. The Board funds all or, in some cases, a portion of the operating budgets of the other Elected Officials. The Constitutional Officers maintain separate accounting systems and budgets.
Other Government Agencies
Based on the degree of budgetary authority, taxing authority, and reporting and alignments with independent boards/councils, several other governmental entities also have their budget reviewed and approved by the Board of County Commissioners. These independent agencies include: Tourist Development Council, Industry Council, Management Information Services, the Personnel Department and Law Libraries. (As a result of action taken by the Florida Legislature during the 1998 session, the Pinellas County Industry Council will dissolve effective July 1, 1999.) The budgets of these agencies and the Constitutional Officers, as well as the County portion of support for Courts, are included in this document.
Role of the County Administrator
The County Administrator is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and is responsible for carrying out the directives and policies of the Board.
The County Administrator is also responsible for the management and supervision of all functions and personnel under the Board of County Commissioners in accordance with section 4.01 of the Pinellas County Charter.