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Last update: 2011-11-14

  • Article 1. Short Title; Application; Definitions 1 - 3
  • Article 2. General Provisions 50 - 54
  • Article 3. Referendum 100 - 105
  • Article 4. Board of Supervisors 150 - 154
  • Article 5. General Powers of Board of Supervisors 200 - 237
  • Article 5-A. County Water, Sewer, Drainage and Refuse Districts 250 - 279-D
  • Article 5-B. County Hurricane Protection, Flood and Shoreline Erosion Control Districts 280 - 280-AA
  • Article 5-D. County Small Watershed Protection Districts 299-L - 299-Y
  • Article 6. Enhanced Emergency Telephone System Surcharge 300 - 308-X
  • Article 6-A. Local Enhanced Wireless 911 Program 325 - 335
  • Article 7. Finance 350 - 381
  • Article 7-A. County Tuberculosis Hospitals 385 - 395
  • Article 7-B. County Medical Assistance Clinics 396-A - 396-F
  • Article 7-C. Drug Control Authorities 396-G - 396-J
  • Article 8. Officers; General Provisions 400 - 411
  • Article 9. Chairman of the Board of Supervisors 450
  • Article 10. Clerk of the Board of Supervisors 475
  • Article 11. County Attorney 500 - 502
  • Article 12. County Clerk 525 - 534
  • Article 13. County Treasurer 550 - 553
  • Article 14. County Comptroller 575 - 577
  • Article 15. County Auditor 600
  • Article 16. County Purchasing Agent 625 - 626
  • Article 17. Sheriff 650 - 662
  • Article 17-A. Coroner, Coroner's Physician and Medical Examiner 670 - 678
  • Article 18. District Attorney 700 - 707
  • Article 18-A. Public Defender 716 - 721
  • Article 18-B. Representation of Persons Accused of Crime or Parties Before the Family Court or Surrogate's Court 722 - 722-F
  • Article 19. County Superintendent of Highways 725
  • Article 20. County Commissioner of Public Welfare 750
  • Article 21. County Sealer 775
  • Article 22. County Service Officer 800
  • Article 23. Provisions Applicable to Certain Counties 825 - 852
  • Article 24. Provisions Applicable to New York City 900 - 943
  • Article 25. Interpretation of Chapter; Saving Clause; Laws Repealed; Time of Taking Effect 1000 - 1003
  • Version 2011-11-14

Article 1
Short Title; Application; Definitions

Section 1. Short title.

Section 1. Short title. This chapter shall be known as the "County Law".

Section 2. Application of chapter.

This chapter shall apply to all counties, except that:

(a) It shall not apply to a county wholly contained within a city, unless specifically so provided;

(b) The provisions of this chapter in so far as they are in conflict with or in limitation of a provision of any alternative form of county government heretofore or hereafter adopted by a county pursuant to section two of article nine of the constitution, or any administrative code, county government law or civil divisions act enacted by the legislature and applicable to such county as now in force or hereafter amended, or in conflict with any local law heretofore or hereafter adopted by a county under an optional or alternative form of county government, shall not be applicable to the county, unless a contrary intent is expressly stated in this chapter.

Section 3. Definition of a county.

A county is a municipal corporation comprising the inhabitants within its boundaries and formed for the purpose of exercising such powers and discharging such duties of local government and administration of public affairs as may be imposed or conferred upon it by law.

Article 2
General Provisions

Section 50. When county divided or boundaries altered.

Whenever the legislature divides a county or alters its boundaries, the act shall provide the method and manner of the disposition of assets and apportionment of liabilities of such county or counties.

Section 51. Actions by or against a county.

Actions or proceedings by or against a county shall be in the name of the county.

Section 52. Presentation of claims for torts; commencement of actions.

1. Any claim or notice of claim against a county for damage, injury or death, or for invasion of personal or property rights, of every name and nature, and whether casual or continuing trespass or nuisance and any other claim for damages arising at law or in equity, alleged to have been caused or sustained in whole or in part by or because of any misfeasance, omission of duty, negligence or wrongful act on the part of the county, its officers, agents, servants or employees, must be made and served in compliance with section fifty-e of the general municipal law. Every action upon such claim shall be commenced pursuant to the provisions of section fifty-i of the general municipal law. The place of trial shall be in the county against which the action is brought.

2. This section shall not apply to claims for compensation for property taken for a public purpose, nor to claims under the workmen's compensation law.

Section 53. Liability of county for torts.

1. Upon compliance with section fifty-two each county shall be liable under the same rules of law applicable to the state, for damage or injury, or death, to person or property sustained by reason of the torts of its officers, agents, servants and employees.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law defining real property owned by tax title or owned for purposes of reimbursement of assistance granted, as held and used for a public purpose, no county shall be liable by reason of such property being defective, out of repair, unsafe or dangerous, unless the county is in the actual physical possession, control and operation thereof as owner, or deriving a direct income therefrom; and with no greater liability than that imposed upon the individual owner of property.

3. Nothing herein shall repeal or modify the exclusive liability as imposed and provided in the workmen's compensation law.

Section 54. Personal liability of heads of agencies.

No head of any agency, department, bureau, or office of a county shall be liable to respond in damages to the county or to any other person for any act or omission of any employee of the county employed within the agency, department, bureau, or office of which he is such head. Any lawful claims which but for this section would be claims against such head of an agency, department, bureau, or office shall be lawful claims against the county and shall be deemed to be the liability of the county. Nothing contained herein, however, shall be deemed to relieve the head of any agency, department, bureau, or office of liability to the county or to any other person for his own act or omission to act, nor be deemed to impose any new liability upon the county for any act or omission of such head of any agency, department, bureau, or office to which the county was not lawfully subject prior to the taking effect of this act.

Article 3

Section 100. Mandatory referendum.

When a resolution of the board of supervisors is subject to a mandatory referendum, such board shall by resolution cause such resolution to be submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of the county for their approval or disapproval at a general or special election. Except as otherwise provided by law, the resolution shall fix a date not less than forty-five days after its adoption on which the proposition is to be submitted at such general or special election.

Section 101. Permissive referendum.

1. A resolution of the board of supervisors which is subject to a permissive referendum shall be subject to referendum on petition. Within ten days after the adoption by the board of supervisors of any resolution which is subject to a permissive referendum, the clerk of the board of supervisors, in the same manner as provided for notice of a special election, shall cause a notice to be published at least once in the official newspapers and in such other newspapers as the board may designate. Such notice shall contain the number, date of adoption, a true copy of the resolution and a statement that such resolution is subject to a permissive referendum.

2. A resolution of the board of supervisors which is subject to a permissive referendum shall not take effect until forty-five days after its adoption; nor unless it is approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the qualified electors of the county voting on a proposition therefor, if within forty-five days after its adoption there be filed with the clerk of the board of supervisors a petition signed by qualified electors of the county in number of not less than ten per centum of the total vote cast for governor in said county at the last general election held for the election of state officers. Such petition shall state that a referendum vote is requested on such resolution, describing the same by its number and date of adoption, and shall contain an abstract of the text. The petition may consist of separate sheets and the signatures to each sheet shall be authenticated in the manner provided by the election law for the authentication of a designating petition. The several sheets so signed and authenticated when fastened together and offered for filing shall be deemed to constitute one petition. The clerk of the county legislature shall examine each such petition so filed with him and shall not later than thirty days after the date of its filing transmit to the board of supervisors a certificate that he has examined it and has found that it complies or does not comply, as the case may be, with all the requirements of law.

3. Proceedings may be instituted and maintained to contest the sufficiency and validity of any petition provided for in this article, in the manner provided by the election law, as though such petition were a designating petition. If the petition be sufficient and valid, a proposition for the approval of such resolution shall be submitted at an election pursuant to subdivision four of this section.

4. Within thirty days after the adoption of a resolution which is subject to a permissive referendum, the board of supervisors may of its own motion by resolution provide that such resolution be submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of the county to be held at a general or special election held not less than sixty days after the adoption of the resolution providing for such special or general election. A resolution adopted pursuant to the preceding sentence may not thereafter be rescinded. Any proposition required to be submitted pursuant to subdivision three of this section shall be submitted at the next general election of state or county government officers held in such county not less than sixty days after the filing of the petition requesting the referendum, unless the petition requests and the board of supervisors adopts a resolution submitting such proposition at a special election held not less than sixty days after the adoption of the resolution providing for such special election.

Section 102. Procedure on mandatory and permissive referendum.

1. The resolution shall recite the form of the proposition, which shall contain a brief statement of the text of the resolution together with its number. The clerk of the board of supervisors shall transmit such proposition forthwith to the board of elections of the county. A sufficient number of copies of such proposition and abstract shall be printed and made available to the electors at the time of registration or otherwise in advance of the election, and in addition, a sufficient number of copies shall be delivered with the other election supplies, and distributed to the electors at the election. If there be more than one such proposition to be voted upon at such election, each proposition shall be separately and consecutively numbered.

2. The board of elections shall cause any such proposition to be submitted to the qualified electors of the county in the manner provided in the election law. The method and manner of submission, preparation and provision of ballots and ballot labels, use of voting machines, qualification of voters, correcting registers, and conducting the election, canvassing the result and making and filing the returns, and all other procedure with reference to the submission of any such proposition, shall be the same as in the case of any other proposition to be submitted to the electors of a county at a general or special election as provided by law. If a majority of the votes cast on any such proposition shall be in the affirmative, the resolution shall be approved.

Section 103. Repeal of resolution by board.

Not less than twenty days prior to the election at which a resolution is to be voted upon by the electors of the county for approval or disapproval, the board of supervisors may, except as otherwise expressly provided in subdivision four of section one hundred one, reconsider its action thereon and repeal such resolution, whereupon the proposition for its approval shall not be submitted at such election, or, if submitted, the vote of the electors thereon shall be without effect.