While the term county (fylke) denotes the geographical area, the county council (fylkeskommune) is the democratically elected body, with responsibilities for public welfare in the county.
Norway's public sector is comprised of three levels: the national government, the municipalities, and between them, the county councils.
The main task
The county council's main task is to act as a regional developer. This means it is our responsibility to help expand the labour market by stimulating creativity and innovation. We also work to provide businesses with the best possible general conditions by, for example, developing the transportation sector or making sure our young people leave the school system with the best possible level of skills.
The county council is also responsible for delivering a number of welfare services. This includes managing the county's 13 upper secondary schools, over 1900 km. of county roads, the county's 17 public dental clinics as well as public transportation in the county. It also includes the responibility for public health, archaeology and preservation, arts programs and festivals, nature and wildlife management and participation in international networks and organizations. among other things.
The county council's budget for 2011 was aproximately NOK 2.1 billion.
Elected representatives and the county council
The County Council (fylkesting) is the legislative body of the county council (fylkeskommune). Councillors are elected every four years by direct election. The ballots for the county council elections are put forward by the political parties. The county council as of 2012 numbers 41 councillors (fylkestingsrepresentanter).
The county council votes on matters after they have been first been considered either by the county executive board (fylkesutvalg) or by one the county council's specialist committees (hovedutvalg).