Bay County, Michigan
Seal of Bay County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Bay County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded February 17, 1857 [1]
Seat Bay City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

630.91 sq mi (1,634 km²)
444.25 sq mi (1,151 km²)
186.66 sq mi (483 km²), 29.59%
 - (2010)
 - Density

242.59/sq mi (94/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 5th

Bay County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 107,771.[1] The county seat is Bay City.[2] Bay County is included in the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit | edit source]

Bay County was created in 1857 from portions of Midland County, Saginaw County, and Arenac County. Being only sparsely populated at that time, Arenac County government was unorganized and was attached to Saginaw County for administrative purposes. There was considerable opposition to the creation of Bay County from elected officials in both Saginaw and Midland counties. In 1854, a bill introduced to the state legislature to create Bay County was defeated by a small majority. In 1857, a new bill was introduced into the legislature. After initial opposition from the representatives of Saginaw and Midland counties, a compromise revision that would present the matter for ratification to the voters of "in said county" was passed by the legislature on February 17, 1857. The matter was put before all the voters of Saginaw and Midland counties and was soundly defeated. However, the population within the boundaries proposed for Bay County approved the measure. The bill passed by the legislature included phrasing, which was deliberately included by the Bay City lawyer Chester H. Freeman, that allowed Bay County to claim ratification. Under the act, the county was to become effective April 20, 1857. Residents of Bay County held elections for county officials in June 1857. However, Saginaw County did not recognize the organization of the new county government. In the winter of 1858, Freeman secured passage of a bill in the legislature that would have confirmed the organization of Bay County. But the bill was vetoed by the governor. However, a case that went before the Michigan Supreme Court in its May 1858 term settled the matter. In the case, a defendant was tried in a Saginaw County court, but filed a plea for abatement, claiming that the supposed offense was committed in Bay County and was not in the jurisdiction of the Saginaw County court. Freeman had represented the defendant and prepared arguments, but became incapacitated due to illness. At the request of Freeman's wife, Colonel William M. Fenton argued the case before the Michigan Supreme Court, with the result that Bay County was declared a fully organized county.[3]

In 1978, Bay County became the second Michigan county (after Oakland County) to adopt a County Executive form of government. Act 139 of 1973 provides for an optional unified form of county government under an appointed County Manager or an elected County Executive. With the County Executive, all departments of the county government that are not headed by a separate elected official (e.g. Treasurer, Clerk, Sheriff, etc.) are under the direction of the County Executive. The County Executive also has veto power over the motions and resolutions passed by the County Commission. Since the adoption of this form of government, Bay County has had three County Executives: Gary Majeske (R) (1979–1989), Kim Higgs (D) (1989–1993), and Thomas Hickner (D) (1993–Present).

Geography[edit | edit source]

  • According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 630.91 square miles (1,634.0 km2), of which 444.25 square miles (1,150.6 km2) (or 70.41%) is land and 186.66 square miles (483.4 km2) (or 29.59%) is water.[4]
  • The Saginaw River flows through Bay City while the Kawkawlin River drains much of the central portion of the county. The Pinconning River and Saganing Creek drain the northern portion. The Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron lies to the east, giving the county its name.
  • The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is the controlling regional body for the Catholic Church.[5]
  • I-75 and US 23, which are coterminus within the county, are the major north-south route. North of Bay City, M-13 follows a parallel route a few miles to the east. US 10 has its eastern terminus in Bay City. M-25, M-15, and M-84 enter Bay City from the east, southeast and southwest respectively and terminate in or near the city.
  • Bay County is considered to be part of the Flint/Tri-Cities region.

Highways[edit | edit source]

Interstates[edit | edit source]

US Highways[edit | edit source]

Michigan State Trunklines[edit | edit source]

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

As of the 2000 census,[6] there were 110,157 people, 43,930 households, and 30,048 families residing in the county. The population density was 248 people per square mile (96/km²). There were 46,423 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile (40/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.94% White, 1.26% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.23% from other races, and 1.54% from two or more races. 3.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 27.2% were of German, 20.6% Polish, 10.8% French, 6.8% Irish, 6.0% English and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.5% spoke English and 2.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 43,930 households out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.70% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.60% were non-families. 27.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.50% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 28.20% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,646, and the median income for a family was $48,111. Males had a median income of $38,190 versus $23,879 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,698. About 6.70% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.20% of those under age 18 and 9.10% of those age 65 or over.

Government[edit | edit source]

The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Bay County officials[edit | edit source]

County Board of Commissioners[edit | edit source]

9 members, elected from districts (6 Democrats, 3 Republicans)

District Commissioner Party Positions
1 Michael J. Duranczyk Democrat Chair of Human Services Committee
2 Brandon Krause Democrat
3 Vaughn J. Begick Republican
4 Joe Davis Republican
5 Ernie Krygier Democrat Chair of Ways & Means Committee
6 Kim Coonan Democrat
7 Tom Ryder Democrat Chair of Personnel/Judicial Committee
8 Christopher Rupp Republican
9 Donald J. Tilley Democrat Chair of the County Commission

Cities, villages, and townships[edit | edit source]


See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 43°43′N 83°56′W / 43.72, -83.94

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