Holding the county's $272 million purse strings gives Hamilton County commissioners a great deal of influence, but commissioners have another seldom-used power that is less about rubber-stamping and more about making policy.

Commissioners can propose resolutions — dictates of county government policy that are not quite law. Generally, resolutions come to commissioners from the mayor's office, which is responsible for the county's day-to-day operation. But when commissioners find issues in their districts — or others — they can draft their own rules. Some stand the test of time, others don't.

Past commissioner-led initiatives include a move in 2001 to post the Ten Commandments in the County Courthouse, which resulted in a federal lawsuit that racked up $80,000 in attorney fees mostly paid by private donors, and a proposal to remove an education tax exemption for big businesses in the area — a measure that's still around.

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