National Geographic : 1896 Mar
"FREE BURGHS" IN THE UNITED STATES to find an occasional participation of urban residents and rural residents in local affairs, but on examination of charters it will be found that this extends only to subjects expressly named in any instance. If one will examine the scheme of government for the city and county of St. Louis, Missouri (1876), he will find that all power of county officers was abrogated. The same act restored their power for the rural portion, now St. Louis county, leaving the city to be provided with a separate government in the same act. The situation in Virginia may be clearer if the legislature is deemed to have abolished all county authority in any city under consideration, and then to have restored by name such items of power as circumstances demanded. The present cities of Virginia have the following character istics: The Code defines a city as a town having over 5,000 inhabitants and a hustings court, and defines a town as an incorporated town having less than 5,000 population.* The cities have distinct courts. Their citizens do not pay county taxes on city property. They do not serve on county juries. Deeds and other papers affecting city property are re corded by city officers and not by county officers. Generally, residents of cities do not participate in county elec tions. Exceptionally, they may hold county offices, more excep tionally, they may vote for county officers. Generally, city police courts have jurisdiction one mile beyond corporate limits. Exceptionally, there is a limited concurrent jurisdiction of city and county courts, as over waters adjacent to the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth and to Norfolk county. Generally, the county and the city have each a set of public buildings within their respective borders. Exceptionally, au thority is given to a county for buildings in a city, as when, at the chartering of the city of Manchester, Chesterfield county was authorized to continue to use its public buildings therein till other arrangements could be made. This authority sometimes embraces arrangement for joint occupancy, as when Norfolk county was authorized to arrange with the city of Portsmouth for the location and construction of a jail. Generally, a county officer may not serve writs in a city. Ex ceptionally, he can serve writs in the city on residents of his * The venerable city of Williamsburg has a smaller population, but its site is expressly set apart for a city.