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In unincorporated communities, King County provides 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.