King County provides regional services to all residents of the county, including people who live in cities. These include courts and related legal services, public health services, the county jail, records and elections, property tax appraisals and regional parks and facilities, including the King County International Airport (Boeing Field). With the voter-approved merger of Metro and King County, county government has also assumed the responsibility for public transit and sewage disposal.
In unincorporated communities, King County provides the services listed above and many local services, including land-use regulation, building permits, police protection, roads and local parks. Other local services in unincorporated communities are provided by fire, water, library and hospital districts which operate independently of county government.
The Metropolitan King County Council is the legislative branch of county government. It adopts laws, sets policies and holds final approval over the budget. Councilmembers represent geographic districts. Every county citizen, including city residents, has an opportunity to vote for a representative on the County Council.
The King County Executive is the elected executive officer of county government. Every citizen of the county has an opportunity to vote for the Executive, who is elected on a countywide basis.