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Maricopa County Structure, History, and Information

History (est. 1871)

Most of what is now Maricopa County was included as part of the Territory of New Mexico until 1863, when the Arizona Territory was established. The growth of Phoenix and other settlements along the Salt River resulted in the creation of Maricopa County - officially established on February 17, 1871. It was the first new county of the original four counties of Territorial Arizona. The County was named in honor of the Maricopa Indians, who were known to have inhabited the area as early as 1775. Maricopa County’s outer geographical boundaries were set in 1881 and have not changed since.


County Seal

County Seal


A.R.S. 11-251.17. Use of county seal restricted; cease and desist order; violation; classification


A. A person may use, display or otherwise employ any facsimile, copy, likeness, imitation or other resemblance of the county seal only after obtaining the approval of the board of supervisors of that county. The board of supervisors may grant a certificate of approval on application by any person showing good cause for the use of the county seal for a proper purpose. No person other than a county department may use the county seal for the purpose of advertising or promoting the sale of any article of merchandise within this state or for promoting any other commercial purpose. The board of supervisors may adopt rules for the use of the county seal or any facsimile, copy, likeness, imitation or other resemblance of the county seal, including rules for the use of the county seal for official county business.

B. If the county maintains a website, it shall display on its website the adopted seal and the text of subsection A of this section.

C. The board of supervisors shall issue a cease and desist order to any person who is in violation of this section. If the person fails to comply with the cease and desist order, the person is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.

Structure

County government in Arizona is an arm of the state government. Its authority is provided by both the state constitution and the state legislature. Maricopa County funds nearly 15,118 positions to serve the public in areas of public health and health care; transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance; flood control; law enforcement and courts; education; parks and recreation facilities; libraries; animal control; economic and community development; and elections.


When elections occur, citizens vote on whom they want to represent them. Sometimes it is for representation within their city. Other times, it is for representation within our county or even state.


When it is for the county, citizens vote for a representative within his or her district. A district is simply an imaginary boundary dividing up the residents into equal groups. Some districts appear quite large, but there are fewer people living in those areas…as the particular district is mostly desert.


A representative from a district is called a Supervisor. Currently, Maricopa County has five (5) districts and five (5) Supervisors.


Together, the five (5) district representatives, or Supervisors, form the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors’ direct the work of the County Manager. This is where they represent your area of town to County government. The County Manager essentially runs Maricopa County, based on Supervisor policies.


There are more than 40 departments in Maricopa County. Many of these departments, such as Elections, directly interacts with the public. Some departments, such as Information Technology, perform an internal service to other departments. Some of these departments are run by Directors who are appointed by the County Manager. Others are run by officials who are elected by the citizens of Maricopa County. For more information about a specific department, or to see a full listing of departments, see the County’s sitemap.


See the County Org Chart


Size & Population

Maricopa County has a land area of 9,226 square miles, of which 1,441 square miles are incorporated (15.6 percent) and 7,785 square miles are unincorporated (84.4 percent). It is the fifth largest of Arizona's 15 counties, and the 14th largest county in the United States. Maricopa County is larger than five states and the District of Columbia. The county measures 132 miles from east to west and 103 miles from north to south. Twenty-four cities and towns are located within Maricopa County's outer boundaries.


Maricopa County has a population of over 3,800,000 people (2011), making it one of the most populous counties in the nation.

Maricopa County, Arizona


County Manager
Phone: (602) 506-3415
Maricopa County || 301 W. Jefferson St. || Phoenix, AZ 85003 || 602-506-3011
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