In FY 2010 the state brought in over $161 million dollars in motor vehicle collections such as car registration fees. This money is divided among the 77 counties and netted Pontotoc County just over $2 million dollars. If we have 898 miles of road, that only allows $2,337 to be spent per mile per year from car registrations. Considering it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a highway, it is clear why it is a struggle to keep roads in good repair.
While Oklahoma voters may believe county commissioners only work on roads and bridges, they actually have a variety of other duties. According to Commissioner Roberts, the Board of Commissioners is the principal administrator and business manager of the county.
The members inspect and approve county programs and facilities, supervise the financial affairs of the county, develop personnel policies, investigate the performance of other county officers, and make agreements affecting the welfare of residents within the county.
County programs include fire protection, rural transit, nutritional sites, the county fair, Pontotoc County Agri-Plex, and assisting small towns with their street maintenance.
All of these examples show the vast range of responsibilities undertaken by county commissioners but with powers that were decreased by the post-scandal reforms.
Oklahoma voters may be most familiar with county commissioners and perhaps the sheriff, but there are actually a total of eight elected officials in each county in Oklahoma.
This includes the sheriff, three commissioners who are elected by district, treasurer, assessor, court clerk, and county clerk. That we elect so many officials at the county level (and state level) reflects the fact that Oklahoma government was heavily influenced by the Progressive Movement that was in full swing when Oklahoma became a state in 1907.
The idea was to give citizens more power by electing many different government offices instead of having them appointed.