County government exists to extend some powers of state government throughout the state. For example, the state requires county prosecutors to enforce the state criminal laws. Registers of deeds receive and maintain proper land records and other property-related documents. Clerks administer elections for the state and exercise other duties that are of particular interest to the state.

Although the counties act as “agents of the state,” they remain separate and with their own legal identity. They have the right to sue and be sued, enter into their own contracts, hold real and personal property, borrow money for legal purposes, perform acts necessary to safeguard county property and conduct county affairs.

Each county has a county board that serves as the legislative body. Each board has certain responsibilities as they relate to its budgets and ordinance-making powers. However, the board is responsible for setting policy as well as providing legislative oversight and constituent services.

Although county boards appropriate money for the budgets of lower-level courts and many judges have their offices and courtrooms in the county building, for the most part, the two entities operate separately. This is also true for the Lapeer County Road Commission. The two boards have some affiliation, but are two separate entities.