County Manager:
Rick Hester
Send E-Mail
Physical Address:
Courthouse - B-206
207 E. Johnston Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1049
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-989-5100
Fax: 919-989-5179
The ABC's of Johnston County Government

Click on a letter below to jump to the Johnston County information for that letter:



Image of AirplaneDid you know that Johnston County has its own airport?  It opened in 1978, and today private planes arrive and depart daily bringing people to visit businesses and individuals in the county.  Also, the world's largest crop dusters are put together and tested at the Johnston County Airport.  A crop duster is a plane that flies over a farmer's fields and sprays them with a bug killer to protect the crops.  Click here to visit the web site for the Johnston County Airport.


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Board of County Commissioners

The Board of County Commissioners is a group of seven men and women who make very important decisions about services to provide for the people who live in Johnston County.  Your parents and neighbors choose who they think will make a good commissioner for Johnston County by taking part in a contest called an election.  The County Commissioners choose a County Manager to make sure their decisions are carried out.  Click here to meet the Johnston County Board of Commissioners.


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Photo of Johnston County CourthouseThe Courthouse is the center of the Johnston County Government.  It is where the Board of County Commissioners and the County Manager work.  Many other County offices are also in the Courthouse.  The Courthouse is the place where people who are accused of crimes must come in order to stand trial.  During a trial, a person accused of a crime is determined to be either guilty or innocent. 


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    Deputy Sheriff

Picture of the Patch of the SheriffA Deputy Sheriff is a man or woman who helps the Sheriff keep Johnston County safe.  A deputy is like a Police Officer. 


Deputy Sheriffs are easy to recognize because they wear a brown uniform with a badge and a hat.  You may have seen a Deputy driving around in a white car, with brown, red, and gold stripes.  The Deputies often patrol streets to make sure that no one is driving too fast, too dangerously, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The Deputies also visit schools to teach children about the dangers of using drugs. 


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    Emergency 911

Emergency 9-1-1 is the number you should call on the telephone when you or someone else is in danger.  For example, if a fire starts in your house or if someone gets hurt badly, call 911.  When you call 911, an operator will answer.  Stay calm and tell the operator exactly what and where the problem is.  The operator will send out a Deputy, Fireman, or ambulance to help you.


You can feel safe knowing that the 911 operators are there for you 24-hours-a-day.  The fire and rescue workers, the 911 operators, and the law officers work together so that many lives are saved in Johnston County. 


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    Fire Marshal

picture of a lighted matchThe Fire Marshal has a very important job in Johnston County.  In addition to working with the volunteer Fire Departments, he or she also teaches people how to prevent fires and how to be safe in case they are ever in a fire.  Have you ever been in the Smoke House?  It is a place that shows kids how to get out of a house that is on fire safely.    The Fire Marshal also inspects schools, businesses, day care centers, restaurants, and other buildings to make sure that they are safe from fire.  Click here to visit Sparky, the Fire Dog's web siteOr you can click here to visit the United State's Fire Administration's web site for kids.


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Picture of garbage in a garbage canGarbage is another name for trash or something you want to throw away.   It is also called solid waste.  Did you ever think where all that trash you throw away goes?  It has to go somewhere.


Johnston County has provided a place for all the towns and most of the people who live in the county to put their garbage every day.  It is called a Landfill.


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Picture of house with mother and childrenSome families do not have a home because they don't have enough money to pay for one.  Johnston County helps out these families through a program called H.A.P.P. (Housing Assistance Payment Program).  H.A.P.P. helps many families throughout the county pay rent on a home.


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picture of house being builtAn inspection is when a county worker closely checks out a building to make sure it is built correctly.  The county inspects schools, offices, many houses and other buildings, so they are sure to be safe and secure for the citizens of Johnston County.  For example, they closely look at the walls, floors, ceilings, stairways, electrical work and plumbing to see if there are problems that should be corrected.


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picture of jail barsThe County Jail is a place where people who break the law are kept for punishment.  A person who is in jail is called a prisoner.  A prisoner lives in a tiny room with iron bars called a cell which has a bed, a sink, and a toilet.  A prisoner can stay in jail for many years depending on how serious his or her crime was.


Does a good citizen break the law?  Think of some ways a person can break the law.  For example: stealing and using drugs.  Stay away from crimes like these and you'll stay away from jail.


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picture of 2 children with a dogSome kids are not lucky enough to have responsible people to look after them.  So the county takes good care of these kids by finding them a family to live with called a foster family who will love them and raise them properly.  Sometimes a family decides to adopt a child which means keeping him or her forever and raising the child as their very own.  You or maybe some of your friends might be adopted.  Adopted children are very special.


Sometimes only one parent is paying for a child's food, clothing and other items.  Therefore, the county finds the other parent and makes them pay their share of taking care of the child.  This is called Child Support Enforcement, and it makes sure every child in Johnston County gets a fair chance to grow up healthy and happy.


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Picture of boy looking for a library bookThe Public Library of Johnston County is a fun place to visit.  It has lots and lots of exciting books, magazines and videos just for you.  On some days there is a children's story hour or other children's activities.  If you want to take a book home, you must get a library card which allows you to borrow the book from the library.  You can't keep your book forever because other people might want to read it too!  So, don't forget to return it on time.


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picture of mapsMaps are very important to Johnston County.  They are all in a computer that can show you exactly where you live.  It can also tell you much more.  For example, is your land rocky or hilly or near a pond?  Many people in Johnston County find this mapping service useful.  A developer uses it to see a map or an area where he want to build a new neighborhood.  In case of an emergency, the 9-1-1 operators know exactly where you live because the maps have the addresses and locations of every home in our county.  We are very lucky because Johnston County has one of the best mapping systems in the United States.


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New Business

Johnston County is growing bigger and bigger each day.  Over the last few years, many new businesses have moved to our county.  Having new businesses is good for Johnston County.  These companies have to pay money to the county called taxes.  The money from their taxes allows the county to provide good schools, medical care and other services to its citizens.  Johnston County is always trying to get new businesses to open in our area.  New businesses in Johnston County mean more money for County services and more jobs for its citizens.


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Other Services

picture of flag and starsIn addition to the services listed from A-Z in this book, the county has many other programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid for families who don't have a lot of money.  Johnston County also provides job training and placement, and Veteran Services are available to those who have served in the military.  Johnston County also helps families and individuals in many other ways by offering different types of Social Services and Mental Health programs.


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Public Health

picture of mother, baby and nurseWhen you do not feel well, you can go to the Public Health Department to see a doctor or nurse and get medicine to make you feel better.  You can also get special shots called immunizations that stop germs from making you sick.  The Health Department also helps adults when they are sick.  They make sure women who are going to have a baby get the care and information they need to have a healthy baby.  If you were born in Johnston County, you can get a copy of your birth certificate which tells when and where you were born.  Your birth certificate is recorded in the Register of Deeds Office in the Courthouse.


The Health Department is also in charge of making sure the restaurants where you eat are clean and safe.  For a restaurant, an A from the Health Department is just as good as an A on your report card.


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picture of telephoneIf you have any questions about the County Services please look up Johnston County Government in the white pages of your phone book.  Information numbers are available for each department (Some are even in Spanish!).  Or you can call the Johnston County Manager's Office at 989-5100.  The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.


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picture of recycling symbolDid you know that some garbage can be recycled instead of throwing it away for good.  Recycle means to use again.  Johnston County has 12 special places for you to recycle your old soda cans, plastic bottles, glass jars and newspapers.  These items are reused in order to make brand new things.


Recycling is important because it helps keep our world clean and beautiful.  do you recycle at your house?


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picture of kids getting off school busJohnston County helps pay for public schools to give every child a chance to go to school and get an education.  Each year the Board of Commissioners approves money for different school programs and possibly the building of a new school.


Do you go to a public school in Johnston County?  If so you are one of about 17,500 students in the Johnston County Public School System.  There are 14 elementary, 7 middle schools and 5 senior high schools.  What do you like best about going to school? Reading, Math, Geography......or Lunch!?!


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Picture of money - bills and changeTaxes are the money your parents, neighbors and area business pay for the services provided by the county.  Each year the Board of County Commissioners make a plan called a budget that pays for the services the county provides like your schools and the sheriff's department.  Just like your parents pay for the clothes they wear or the food they eat, they must pay for all the services that Johnston County provides.


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picture of faucet with running water and handsA utility is a service that the county provides that is used by many of its citizens like water and the disposal of garbage.  We have already talked about garbage and recycling, but the county also provides water to most towns in the county.


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picture of person votingVoting is how the citizens choose who will be on the Board of Commissioners, who will be Governor of North Carolina and even who will be the next President of the United States.  It is like a big contest, and the one with the most votes wins!  You can register to vote when you turn 18 years old at the County Board of Elections.


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picture of bride and groomBefore a couple can get married, they  must go the Register of Deeds and get a marriage license.  The county office has other important records or "deeds".  They have military records, ownership of property records, records of when people were born in Johnston County and when they died.


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X-Youth and Adult Programs

picture of 4H symbol and farm animalsHave you ever heard of the 4-H Club?  Do you know what the four H's stand for?  Health, Head, Hands, and Heart.  Have you ever heard of the Future Farmers of America or possibly the Future Homemakers of America clubs.  The Cooperative Extension Service has because it offers these youth development programs and many more to young people in Johnston County.  They also offer many programs to help adults learn about everything from farming to planning healthy meals.


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A zone is an area where only certain things can be built or take place.


Planning the use of land (or zoning) is important to Johnston County because it keeps everything in order in our community.  For example, if a citizen wants to build a house, he must first make sure the land is in the right zone.  Some zones are for neighborhoods, some for businesses, and some for both.  The Johnston County Planning Department is in charge of all zoning.


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