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Major Revenue Sources For County Government

Counties rely on a large variety of revenue sources to fund their operations on an annual basis. While there are many individual revenue items for counties they are generally consolidated under the following categories for reporting purposes:

  • Property/Real Estate
  • Sales & Use
  • Charges for Services
  • Charges to Other Governments
  • Use and Sale of Property
  • Other Revenues
  • Transfers
  • State Reimbursement and Aid
  • Federal Reimbursement and Aid
  • Debt proceeds

While these core categories are used by the State to identify broad revenue sources it is sometimes difficult to make easy comparisons across counties because not all counties report their revenues the same way. In addition, some have dozens of separate revenue sources in one category while others only have a few, and others simply do not have the ability to pursue certain revenue options due to demographic or economic conditions. However, the summaries in the following pages can be a useful starting point to identify trends and shed light on how a typical county raises revenue and/or relies on certain revenue categories to support programs they administer on behalf of the state, as well as fund locally-based programs.
The following chart provides a high-level breakdown of major county revenue sources. The chart depicts the percentage share by major funding category for all counties combined. The percentage shares of revenue for any one county will vary, as larger counties can skew the overall averages.

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