County Auditor Duties and Responsibilities

The office of the County Auditor was created in 1870 as part of a revamping of county government. The duties of the office covered areas that had previously been given to the County Judge in 1851, in the first Code of Iowa, and then to the Clerk of Court in 1861, with the formation of the Board of Supervisors. The State Legislature added the duties of Commissioner of Elections in the early 1970s. The County Auditor is an elected position, with a term of four years.

The Institute of Public Affairs has labeled the Auditor’s Office as the “Hub of County Government.” The Auditors and their staff are always available to help with your questions and invite you to visit their offices anytime.

The following information has been prepared by the Iowa State Association of County Auditors for the purpose of acquainting you with the duties and responsibilities of your County Auditor. No attempt has been made to cover all the functions of this office. We hope you use this as a reference and an educational guide for information about the County Auditor.

The Auditor may perform a variety of duties depending on the size of the county.

Budget Central

Along with these financial responsibilities, the Auditor’s Office is considered Budget Central for all government entities. Schools, cities, townships, agricultural extension, county hospitals, emergency management agencies, E911 service boards, and county assessors file their completed budgets with the Auditor. These budgets, which include the tax asking for each entity, are reviewed by the County Auditor and then submitted to the State Department of Management. After the Board of Supervisors holds a public hearing on their budget, the Auditor also files the certified County Budget with the State Department of Management.

Clerk to the Board of Supervisors

As Clerk to the Board of Supervisors, the Auditor may perform a variety of duties depending on the size of the County. The Auditor may accept petitions, register complaints, or act on routine business in the absence of the Board. The Auditor often prepares Board meeting agendas, notifies the media, attends all Board meetings, keeps and records Board meeting minutes, and publishes the proceedings in the official County newspapers. The Auditor initiates bid notices, solicits proposals for County contracts for materials and services, and receives contract proposals. Official papers dealing with the Board of Supervisors’ business are referenced and maintained by the Auditor. County Ordinances are prepared, published, recorded, and maintained by the County Auditor.

Commissioner of Elections

In 1972 the County Auditor was given an additional title of Commissioner of Elections by the legislature. In addition to federal, state, and county elections, the Commissioner of Elections then assumed the duties of all city, school, and special elections.

The Commissioner prepares and supervises the printing of ballots and/or programming of voting machines as well as orders all election supplies. The Commissioner conducts schools of instructions, according to law, for all precinct election officials and is responsible for their employment on election day. The Commissioner also prepares and monitors the processing of all absentee ballots in order to aid voters who will not be voting at the polls on election day.

Other duties of the Election Commissioner include:

County Financial Officer

As the county’s Financial Officer, the Auditor completes a “State of the County” Financial Report at the end of each fiscal year, which is a Revenue vs Expenditure report showing available cash reserves. Based on this report and budgets for the current year, the Auditor disburses all county funds. Claims for payment for all services and materials rendered and charged to the various county departments are submitted to this office for payment. The Auditor is responsible for “auditing” all claims and keeping a complete record of each transaction. It is the Auditor’s responsibility to make sure that the departments do not exceed the budget appropriation approved by the Board of Supervisors.

County Registrar of Voters

In 1975 the Auditor became the County Registrar of Voters with the implementation of a state-wide voter registration law. The Auditor is responsible for maintaining the current records of residents desiring to vote and purging the records of those no longer eligible to vote. The Auditor is then able to prepare the necessary lists of qualified voters for each election.

County Tax Accountant

The Auditor tabulates the taxable valuations for each property owner in the county. After applying the proper exemptions, homestead and military credits, roll backs and other adjustments to the assessed valuations certified by the Assessor’s Office, the Auditor certifies the “taxable” valuation of the county to the State. This computation creates the tax rate from which each taxpayer’s statement is prepared.

After the State returns the certified tax rates for the above-mentioned taxing entities in the County, the Auditor becomes the County Tax Accountant and applies these tax rates to the taxable valuation of each property and then prepares a tax list showing each taxpayer’s share of the total governmental tax asking. These figures are then certified to the County Treasurer’s Office for collection.

Custodian of the Courthouse

The Auditor is the Custodian of the Courthouse under the direction of the Board of Supervisors. This responsibility includes not only general maintenance and repair of the building, but also issues involving office space, records storage, and disaster recovery.

Custodian of the Election Returns and Records

As Custodian of the Election Returns and Records, the Commissioner certifies the results to the state or subdivision involved and issues certificates of election to the proper persons.


Insurance policies and surety bonds are filed and maintained in the Auditor’s Office.


The Auditor’s office processes various licenses and permits:

Other Reporting Requirements

Reports required by the Bureau of Census, Labor, OSHA, Job Service of Iowa, and various other general reports are prepared by the Auditor’s Office.

Overseer of the County Plats

The Auditor is the Overseer of the County Plats. All documents dealing with the transfer of real estate recorded in the Recorder’s Office are also filed in the Auditor’s Office. Each document is proofed for accuracy and the chain of title researched. The document is then entered into the Transfer Record. Plat and Transfer Records are maintained showing the ownership of all parcels of land for taxation purposes. The Auditor may cause subdivisions to be platted when necessary and accordingly revises the county plats.

Payroll & Human Resources Manager

All the County payroll is computed and distributed by this office. Related reports such as FICA, IPERS, State and Federal withholding, insurance, 457 Deferred Compensation plans, and other deduction reports are filed with the proper entities. In some counties, the Auditor also acts as the Human Resources Manager and handles employee questions dealing with health insurance deductibles and co-payments, COBRA forms, annuity plans, vacation, sick leave, family/medical leave, military leave, and retirement options. Updating the County’s Personnel Policy and job descriptions are also a responsibility of this office.

Records and Plans

Records and plans filed in the Auditors office include:

Meet Our Auditors

Mitchell County

Rachel Foster
Osage, Iowa

Auditor Information

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