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Portage County, Ohio

From Academic Kids

Image:Map of Ohio highlighting Portage County.png

Portage County is a county located in the state of Ohio. As of 2000, the population is 152,061. Its county seat is Ravenna6 and is named for the portage here between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas Rivers.

Contents

History

The name "Portage" comes from an old Native American path called "Portage Trail", which ran between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers.

The first settler was Abraham Honey in Mantua township, followed by settlements in Palmyra township and Ravenna township.

Geography

Geographic features

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,313 km² (507 mi²). 1,275 km² (492 mi²) of it is land and 38 km² (15 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.90% water.

West Branch State Park is a very large state park in central Portage County, consisting of a large green surrounding the Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir. There are a number of smaller state and local parks.

Major highways

Interstate 80, Interstate 76, and U.S. Highway 224 pass through Portage county heading East-West.

Interstate 480 connects to Interstate 80 in Streetsboro and is a major thoroughfare for those heading North. It also serves to connect Portage County to Cleveland proper.

Adjacent counties

Portage County has borders with Summit County to the West, Stark County to the South, Mahoning County to the South and East, Trumbull to the East, and Geauga County to the North. In addition there is a four-corners type border to the Northwest with Cuyahoga County.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 152,061 people, 56,449 households, and 39,175 families residing in the county. The population density is 119/km² (309/mi²). There are 60,096 housing units at an average density of 47/km² (122/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 94.40% White, 3.18% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.82% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 0.72% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 56,449 households out of which 32.30% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% are married couples living together, 10.10% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.60% are non-families. 23.30% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.40% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.56 and the average family size is 3.03.

In the county, the population is spread out with 23.70% under the age of 18, 14.30% from 18 to 24, 28.60% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $44,347, and the median income for a family is $52,820. Males have a median income of $37,434 versus $26,232 for females. The per capita income for the county is $20,428. 9.30% of the population and 5.90% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 9.90% of those under the age of 18 and 5.70% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Government

Counties in Ohio do not possess home rule powers but can do only what has been expressly authorized by the Ohio General Assembly. Like eighty-six other counties (the exception is Summit), the county has the following elected officials, as provided by statute:

  • Three county commissioners (the Board of Commissioners): Control budget; approve zoning; approve annexations to cities and villages; set overall policy; oversee departments under their control
  • County auditor: Values property for taxation; issues dog, kennel, and cigarette licenses; issues licenses for retailers for sales tax purposes; inspects scales, pumps, etc., used in commerce to see that they are accurate
  • County clerk of court of common pleas: Keeps filings of lawsuits and orders of the county court of common pleas; records titles for motor vehicles
  • County coroner: Determines causes of death in certain cases; is the only person with the power to arrest the sheriff.
  • County engineer: Maintains county roads and land maps
  • Prosecuting attorney: Prosecutes felonies and is the legal advisor to all other county officials and departments
  • County recorder: Keeps all land records, including deeds, surveys, mortgages, easements, and liens
  • County treasurer: Collects taxes, invests county money, provide financial oversight to municipalities and school districts in the county
  • County sheriff: Chief law enforcement officer, polices areas without local police; runs the county jail; acts as officer of the local courts (transporting prisoners, serving subpoenas, acting as bailiff, etc.)

All of these officials are elected to four-year terms in November of even-numbered years after being nominated in partisan primary elections. One commissioner and the auditor are elected in the same year as the governor in one cycle; the other two commissioners and the other officials are elected in the same year as the president of the United States. The clerk, coroner, prosecutor, recorder, and sheriff begin their terms on the first Monday in January. The auditor's term begins on the second Monday in March. The treasurer's term begins on the first monday in September. The commissioner who is elected with the governor begins his term on January 1. Of the other two seats, one term begins on January 2 and the second on January 3.

Any citizen of Ohio and the United States who is eighteen years of age or older and lives in the county may run for commissioner, auditor, treasurer, clerk of courts, or recorder. The other offices have specific additional requirements: candidates for prosecutor must be licensed to practice law; candidates for coroner must be licensed to practice medicine for two years; candidates for engineer must be both licensed surveyors and engineers; and candidates for sheriff must have certain education and supervisory experience in law enforcement.

If a vacancy arises, it is filled by the county central committee of the political party to which the former official belonged, i.e., the Republicans appoint someone to an office held by a Republican and the Democrats to an office held by a Democrat. If an office becomes vacant before the November election in the even-numbered year midway through the term, the appointee must run in a special election for the remainder of the term. If the office becomes vacant after then, the appointment is for the remainder of the term.

The Board of County Commissioners is the combined executive and legislative branch of county government but as their control over the independently elected officials is limited, there is effectively no real executive. However, one of the members of the board is named president of the board. The commissioners receive a full-time salary, but commissioners often have full-time occupations on the side. The board also employs a clerk to record its proceedings.

The board of commissioners often create numerous subordinate departments to handle specific services. These vary from county to county; among the most common are departments for building and zoning, health, economic development, water and sewer service, and emergency management.

There is also a county educational service center (previously known as the county board of education) presided over by a board of education, typically numbering five members, elected to staggered four-year terms in non-partisan elections in odd-numbered years. The center supplies services to the individual school districts in the county and exercises some limited control over the class of school districts known as "local school districts." ("City school districts" and "exempted village school districts" are free from any oversight by the county board.) Counties also have a board of mental retardation and developmental disabilities to educate disabled children. The members of this board are appointed.

Elections are administered in each county by a four-member board of elections which consists of two Republicans and two Democrats appointed by the Ohio Secretary of State at the recommendation of each county party. The board employs a director, who must be of the opposing political party of the chairman of the board of elections, and a deputy director, who must be of the political party of the chairman of the board.

The county has a court of common pleas, which is the court of first instance for felonies and certain high-value civil cases. All judges in Ohio are elected to six-year terms in non-partisan elections after being nominated in partisan primaries.

See also Ohio county government.


Municipalities and townships

Portage County is arranged as a 4x5 grid of 20 rectanges: 18 unincorporated townships containing 9 cities and villages; and two incorporated townships which are fully occupied by one city each.

The two incorporated townships are:

There are 18 unincorporated townships:

There are an additional 9 villages and cities contained within those 18 townships:

In addition to the above, Tallmadge city from Summit County overflows into Portage county in a small part of Brimfield township.

The Ravenna Ordnance Plant consumes much of the land in Charlestown, Paris, and Windham township, as well as a small part of Freedom township.

Colleges and universities

Kent State University is located in Kent, in west-central Portage County, well-connected to Streetsboro, Ravenna, and most of Summit County.

Hiram College is located in Hiram in Northwest Portage County.

Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine is located in Rootstown, in South central Portage County.

External links


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