As an employer of choice, the County of Henrico has always taken its responsibilities seriously, serving a large population base and providing services that are considered second-to-none. Henrico attracts business and residents that need, want and demand the best possible service. It boasts triple-A bond ratings, has the lowest overall tax rates of 13 urban cities and counties in Virginia, ranks among the very best public school systems in the nation, and promotes excellence in customer service by providing quality services to all of its customers.
Henrico County was one of the first localities in Virginia and the nation to adopt the “Manager Form” of local government, which has its origins in the Virginia Constitution of 1851. The County Manager form of government allows for the grouping and consolidation of administrative functions of the County into over thirty departments. Department Heads are appointed by the County Manager and serve at his pleasure.
Bordering the city of Richmond on the west, north, and east, the County of Henrico lies between the James and Chickahominy rivers, and constitutes approximately one third of the Richmond metropolitan area.
In the spring of 1607, a small band of adventurers led by Captain Christopher Newport left Jamestown on a voyage up Powhatan’s River, now called the James River. Newport’s company included Captain John Smith, George Percy, Esq., Captain Gabriel Archer and about 20 others. The Virginia Company of London, a private organization chartered by the crown to settle Virginia, had authorized the exploration. Newport erected a cross, claiming the river and the country for God and England. These explorers became the first Englishmen to set foot on the soil that was to become Henrico County.
One of the oldest political subdivisions in Virginia, Henrico was originally settled by Sir Thomas Dale in 1611, only four years after the first arrival of Captain Newport. In just four months, the town grew to a fortified settlement. Virginia’s economy soon was sharply transformed by the introduction in 1612 of new strains of mild tobacco developed by colonist John Rolfe and shipped to England. Henrico became the scene of the second settlement in the colony and was established in 1634 as one of the eight original shires or counties. Its first boundaries incorporated an area from which 10 Virginia counties (Amherst, Nelson, Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Cumberland, Goochland, Powhatan, and Chesterfield) were later formed in whole or in part, as well as the cities of Richmond, Charlottesville, and Colonial Heights. The county was originally named for Henry, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James I of England.
Today, Henrico County's more than 310,000 residents live in a well-planned community of 244.06 square miles (635 square kilometers) consisting of beautiful residential communities, large expanses of fertile farm land, and carefully developed office, retail and diversified industrial areas. In addition, Henrico has an extensive network of park and recreational facilities, many of which have historic significance, including Civil War battlefields such as Seven Pines, Savage's Station, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Yellow Tavern, New Market Heights.
Henrico County is divided into five magisterial districts: Brookland, Fairfield, Three Chopt, Tuckahoe and Varina. A representative from each district constitutes the County’s governing and policy-making body. The Board of Supervisors is elected for four-year terms. In addition, the Board of Supervisors annually elects a chairman who presides at each Board meeting and serves as the official head of the County government, and elects a vice chairman who serves in the absence of the chairman. This election occurs in January of each calendar year.