Chapter 14 Presentation - Madison County Schools

Mississippi History
Chapter 15
Chapter Preview
Beat System
Assessed Value
Council-Manager Form
Real Property
Tax Rate
Unit System
Tax Roll
Mayor-Council Form
Ad Valorem
Personal Property
People To Know
Board of Supervisors
Chancery Clerk
Circuit Clerk
Tax Collector
Tax Assessor
County Attorney
Superintendent of Education
Board of Aldermen
District Attorney
County Board of
“No new county shall be
formed unless a majority of
the qualified electors voting in
each part of the county or
counties proposed to be
dismembered and embraced
in the new county, shall
seperately vote therefor”
Article 14, Section 260, Ms
Constitution of 1890
Local Government Preview
Mississippians have the
most contact with their
local government
Counties, municipalities,
school districts, and special
districts are all examples of
local government
These bodies are created
by the state
The 82 Counties
County Government
Counties were first formed in the state in 1799 with the creation of Adams and
Pickering counties
By 1817, there were 14 counties
By 1841, there were 56 counties
By 1890, there were 75 counties
The state legislature has created 7 counties since then to give Ms its current total
Counties were established by the state to help provide services for its citizens
These services include law enforcement, road maintenance, recreation, fire
protection, etc.
Board of supervisors
The principal governing body of a county is the Board of Supervisors
Each county is divided into 5 districts, called “Beats” of equal population.
One supervisor is elected to the board of supervisors from each “Beat”
Supervisors must reside in the counties and districts they represent
Supervisors serve for 4 year terms
The board is required to meet monthly
The board is responsible for county finances, taxes, bonds, roads,
bridges, the jail, county health programs, regulating fireworks, appointing
a county fire coordinator, maintaining public libraries, etc.
Reforming county government
Managing county government takes on 2 forms: The Beat System
and the Unit System
Beat System: Each Supervisor has complete control over the
roads in the district, gives orders to road crews, and drafts a
budget without the assistance of a county administrator.
Supervisors under the “Beat” system can spend up to $100 for
emergency repairs and equipment.
All other purchases must be made through purchasing, receiving
and inventory clerks
Critics argue that they are just road repair technicians
The Unit System
In 1988, the state legislature allowed voters in each county to decide
whether to maintain the Beat System or move to a more centralized
The Unit System - The supervisors set policy and hire county
workers to handle the day-to-day functions of county government
The county road manager monitors road crews and makes
decisions on roads and bridges to be repaired.
Equipment is stored in a central county barn and all purchasing is
handled by purchasing, receiving and inventory clerks
County Officials
Law enforcement
The sheriff’s office is one of the oldest in county government
The “Sheriff” is the chief law enforcement officer in the county, with
the authority to prevent criminal activity and make arrests
At one time, the sheriff was also the tax collector
The sheriff is in charge of the county jail, prisoners and the
The sheriff can hire deputies to assist in the sheriff’s duties
Law enforcement also includes the coroner, who investigates
Chancery circuit clerk
The Clerk for the Board of Supervisors and keeps a complete record of the Board’s
proceedings and orders
The Clerk also receives and records legal papers, such as deeds related to land
Is responsible for the papers and records of the Chancery Court
Serves as treasurer and auditor for the county, keeps up with county funds, maintains
financial records, and authorizes payments to meet county obligations
The Circuit Clerk serves as the clerk for the Circuit Court, registers voters, prepares
voter lists, administers elections, and issues marriage licenses
Both Elected for 4 year terms
Tax Collector and Tax Assessor
The Tax Collector, collects taxes
The Tax Assessor determines the true value of each piece of
property in the county and then establishes the taxable value of that
property every year
These offices are usually combined in most counties
The “True Value” of property is how much it is actually worth. For
tax purposes, the tax assessor determines the property’s assessed
value, which is a % of true value
They then produce a “tax Roll” of all the properties and presents it
to the Board of Supervisors who then levies the taxes
County Attorney
Prosecutes cases for the state in
justice courts and county courts
and assists the DA in cases before
the circuit courts
Must be a practicing attorney and is
elected for a 4 year term
The District Attorney (DA)
represents more than one county,
prosecutes cases in their district
and carries out criminal
County Superintendent of Education and Board of
The chief public school official in the
county is the Superintendent of
Either elected to a 4 year term or
appointed by the school board
Responsible for the administration
of county public schools
County Board of Education has 5
members elected from supervisory
districts for staggered 6 year terms
Ms is considered a rural
state with over 50% of
its population living in
rural communities or
Municipal Government
Have a population of less than 2,500
Are political units that provide local government to specific areas and can be
classified according to population size
In Ms, Municipalities with populations of more than 2,000 people are classified as
Places between 301-1,999 people are considered towns
Places between 50-300 people are considered villages
A group of citizens living in an area may incorporate (become a city, town or village)
by submitting a petition, signed by 2/3 of the residents to the chancery court
Functions of Municipal Governments
The major function of any city is
to provide services to its
Some of those services include
maintaining roads and bridges,
providing a police force, fire
department, libraries, recreation
facilities, street lights, sanitation
services, etc
These services vary depending
on the Municipality
Forms of
City government can
take on 3 types of
government form:
1. Mayor Council
2. Commission
3. Council-Manager
Mayor Council Form
Voters elect a mayor and a city
In Ms the city council is known as
the Board of Aldermen
The number of aldermen varies from
Aldermen are elected from districts
called wards
They are divided between a “weak”
or “strong” mayor type
Mayor-Council Form (cont)
Weak mayor form is most common in Ms
Voters elect a mayor and aldermen who together decide whether
other officials are elected or appointed
The mayor shares many decisions with the aldermen
Strong Mayor council form
The mayor has the power to hire and fire city employees
Has more power in budgeting
The mayor presides over the council in both
Commission Form
Voters elect a mayor and at least 2 commissioners
The mayor presides over the commission meetings but has no veto power
The mayor is the official representative of the city and generally administers the
police and fire departments
The commissioners head specific departments of city government:
One commissioner might administer finance
Another might be in charge of purchasing
Another might be in charge of parks
Commission Form (cont)
This form dates back to the hurricane of 1900 that devastated Galveston, Tx and killed
more than 6,000
The Mayor-Council government that existed was corrupt and could not handle the
The city asked the state legislature for a new charter creating a commission
This form became popular and spread throughout Tx and eventually into other
parts of the country
This form was adopted by Jackson in 1912
Today only Vicksburg and Clarksdale use this form of government
Jackson changed in 1985
Council Manager Form
The voters elect a mayor and
council, which in turn, hire a city
The mayor presides over city
council meetings and represents the
The manager handles day-to-day
operations, hires and fires city
employees, prepares the budget,
and attends council meetings but
cannot vote
Grenada and Pascagoula have this
Often times, Municipalities try to
extend their boundaries by adding
surrounding land
A city wanting to annex more land
passes an ordinance (law) that
describes the boundaries of the
new area, identifies the services it
will provide and sets a timetable
Citizens living their cannot vote
against the annexation but can file
a lawsuit to stop it.
Other forms of government
Ms has 152 school districts and
may cover an entire county, can
cross county lines, or might include
a single municipality
All School districts have 5
member boards
Ms Planning and Development
Districts (Economic Development)
Soil and Water Conservation
Financing Local
The major source of
county governments is
the ad valorem tax.
Ad Valorem Tax - levied on the assessed value of real and personal
Real property consists of land and permanent structures on it
Personal Property - refers to movable items such as cars
Tax Rate - Based on the needs of a local government, a tax rate is
Property tax rates are called “Mills”. A mill is 1/10 of a cent and
generated $1 for every $1,000 in value
City Revenue
Cities receive a portion of the
state’s sales tax (18.5% of sales
taxes collected within their
Some cities levy taxes on
specific businesses like hotel
Other revenue comes from
federal and state grants, fees,
fines, gas taxes, and Homestead
Exemption reimbursements
Homestead Exemption
State law gives
homeowners an exemption
for property that is their
primary residence
The state reimburses the
local governments for this
loss in revenue
A drawing that makes a
political statement about
a subject of public
Political Cartoons
Can be about a person, group, event or important problem
Good cartoons deal with emotions and are commonly humorous or
Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was one of the earliest and most famous
cartoonists in US history
He supported the Union during the Civil War
Nast created several symbols that have stood the test of time like the
Republican Elephant and the Democrat Donkey
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