2007 Regular Session
To: County Affairs; Municipalities
By: Representative Hines
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 19-3-41 AND 21-17-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES TO ATTEND AND COMPLETE A COURSE OF TRAINING AND EDUCATION RELATING TO THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 19-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
19-3-41. (1) The boards of supervisors shall have within their respective counties full jurisdiction over roads, ferries and bridges, except as otherwise provided by Section 170 of the Constitution, and all other matters of county police. They shall have jurisdiction over the subject of paupers. They shall have power to levy such taxes as may be necessary to meet the demands of their respective counties, upon such persons and property as are subject to state taxes for the time being, not exceeding the limits that may be prescribed by law. They shall cause to be erected and kept in good repair, in their respective counties, a good and convenient courthouse and a jail. A courthouse shall be erected and kept in good repair in each judicial district and a jail may be erected in each judicial district. They may close a jail in either judicial district, at their discretion, where one (1) jail will suffice. They shall have the power, in their discretion, to prohibit or regulate the sale and use of firecrackers, roman candles, torpedoes, skyrockets, and any and all explosives commonly known and referred to as fireworks, outside the confines of municipalities. They shall have and exercise such further powers as are or shall be conferred upon them by law. They shall have authority to negotiate with and contract with licensed real estate brokers for the purpose of advertising and showing and procuring prospective purchasers for county-owned real property offered for sale in accordance with the provisions of Section 19-7-3.
(2) The board of supervisors of any county, in its discretion, may contract with a private attorney or private collection agent or agency to collect any type of delinquent payment owed to the county including, but not limited to, past due fees and fines, delinquent ad valorem taxes on personal property and delinquent ad valorem taxes on mobile homes that are entered as personal property on the mobile home rolls. Any such contract may provide for payment contingent upon successful collection efforts or payment based upon a percentage of the delinquent amount collected; however, the entire amount of all delinquent payments collected shall be remitted to the county and shall not be reduced by any collection costs or fees. There shall be due to the county from any person whose delinquent payment is collected pursuant to a contract executed under this subsection an amount, in addition to the delinquent payment, of not to exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the delinquent payment for collections made within this state and not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the delinquent payment for collections made outside of this state. However, in the case of delinquent fees owed to the county for garbage or rubbish collection or disposal, only the amount of the delinquent fees may be collected and no amount in addition to the delinquent fees may be collected if the board of supervisors of the county has notified the county tax collector under Section 19-5-22 for the purpose of prohibiting the issuance of a motor vehicle road and bridge privilege license tag to the person delinquent in the payment of such fees. Any private attorney or private collection agent or agency contracting with the county under the provisions of this subsection shall give bond or other surety payable to the county in such amount as the board of supervisors deems sufficient. Any private attorney with whom the county contracts under the provisions of this subsection must be a member in good standing of The Mississippi Bar. Any private collection agent or agency with whom the county contracts under the provisions of this subsection must meet all licensing requirements for doing business in the State of Mississippi. Neither the county nor any officer or employee of the county shall be liable, civilly or criminally, for any wrongful or unlawful act or omission of any person or business with whom the county has contracted under the provisions of this subsection. The Mississippi Department of Audit shall establish rules and regulations for use by counties in contracting with persons or businesses under the provisions of this subsection.
(3) In addition to the authority granted under subsection (2) of this section, the board of supervisors of any county, in its discretion, may contract with one or more of the constables of the county to collect delinquent criminal fines imposed in the justice court of the county. Any such contract shall provide for payment contingent upon successful collection efforts, and the amount paid to a constable may not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount which the constable collects. The entire amount of all delinquent criminal fines collected under such a contract shall be remitted by the constable to the clerk of the justice court for deposit into the county general fund as provided under Section 9-11-19. Any payments made to a constable pursuant to a contract executed under the provisions of this section may be paid only after presentation to and approval by the board of supervisors of the county.
(4) If a county uses its own employees to collect any type of delinquent payment owed to the county, then from and after July 1, 1999, the county may charge an additional fee for collection of the delinquent payment provided the payment has been delinquent for ninety (90) days. The collection fee may not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the delinquent payment if the collection is made within this state and may not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the delinquent payment if the collection is made outside this state. In conducting collection of delinquent payments, the county may utilize credit cards or electronic fund transfers. The county may pay any service fees for the use of such methods of collection from the collection fee, but not from the delinquent payment.
(5) In addition to such authority as is otherwise granted under this section, the board of supervisors of any county may expend funds necessary to maintain and repair, and to purchase liability insurance, tags and decals for, any personal property acquired under the Federal Excess Personal Property Program that is used by the local volunteer fire department.
(6) (a) The board of supervisors of any county, in its discretion, may expend funds to provide for training and education of newly elected or appointed county officials before the beginning of the term of office or employment of such officials. Any expenses incurred for such purposes may be allowed only upon prior approval of the board of supervisors. Any payments or reimbursements made under the provisions of this subsection may be paid only after presentation to and approval by the board of supervisors.
(b) Within ninety (90) days after taking office, each member of the board of supervisors shall attend and complete a course of training and education relating to the duties and responsibilities of members of the board of supervisors. The course shall be a total of forty (40) hours in duration and shall be conducted by the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the State Auditor, or the designees of such officials. Any expenses for such training shall be paid out of any available funds of the county.
(7) The board of supervisors of any county may expend funds to purchase, maintain and repair equipment for the electronic filing and storage of filings, files, instruments, documents and records using microfilm, microfiche, data processing, magnetic tape, optical discs, computers or other electronic process which correctly and legibly stores and reproduces or which forms a medium for storage, copying or reproducing documents, files and records for use by one (1), all or any combination of county offices, employees and officials, whether appointed or elected. (8) In addition to the authority granted in this section, the board of supervisors of any county may expend funds as provided in Section 29-3-23(2).
(9) The board of supervisors of any county may perform and exercise any duty, responsibility or function, may enter into agreements and contracts, may provide and deliver any services or assistance, and may receive, expend and administer any grants, gifts, matching funds, loans or other monies, in accordance with and as may be authorized by any federal law, rule or regulation creating, establishing or providing for any program, activity or service. The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed as authorizing any county, the board of supervisors of any county or any member of a board of supervisors to perform any function or activity that is specifically prohibited under the laws of this state or as granting any authority in addition to or in conflict with the provisions of any federal law, rule or regulation.
SECTION 2. Section 21-17-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-17-5. (1) The governing authorities of every municipality of this state shall have the care, management and control of the municipal affairs and its property and finances. In addition to those powers granted by specific provisions of general law, the governing authorities of municipalities shall have the power to adopt any orders, resolutions or ordinances with respect to such municipal affairs, property and finances which are not inconsistent with the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, the Mississippi Code of 1972, or any other statute or law of the State of Mississippi, and shall likewise have the power to alter, modify and repeal such orders, resolutions or ordinances. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, the powers granted to governing authorities of municipalities in this section are complete without the existence of or reference to any specific authority granted in any other statute or law of the State of Mississippi. Unless otherwise provided by law, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, the aldermen or councilmen of every municipality of this state shall give bond, with sufficient surety, to be payable, conditioned and approved as provided by law, in a penalty equal to five percent (5%) of the sum of all the municipal taxes shown by the assessment rolls and the levies to have been collectible in the municipality for the year immediately preceding the commencement of the term of office of said alderman or councilman; however, such bond shall not exceed the amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00). Any taxpayer of the municipality may sue on such bond for the use of the municipality, and such taxpayer shall be liable for all costs in case his suit shall fail. No member of the city council or board of aldermen shall be surety for any other such member.
(2) Unless such actions are specifically authorized by another statute or law of the State of Mississippi, this section shall not authorize the governing authorities of municipalities to (a) levy taxes of any kind or increase the levy of any authorized tax, (b) issue bonds of any kind, (c) change the requirements, practices or procedures for municipal elections or establish any new elective office, (d) change the procedure for annexation of additional territory into the municipal boundaries, (e) change the structure or form of the municipal government, (f) permit the sale, manufacture, distribution, possession or transportation of alcoholic beverages, (g) grant any donation, or (h) without prior legislative approval, regulate, directly or indirectly, the amount of rent charged for leasing private residential property in which the municipality does not have a property interest.
(3) Nothing in this or any other section shall be construed so as to prevent any municipal governing authority from paying any municipal employee not to exceed double his ordinary rate of pay or awarding any municipal employee not to exceed double his ordinary rate of compensatory time for work performed in his capacity as a municipal employee on legal holidays. The governing authority of any municipality, in its discretion, may enact leave policies to ensure that public safety employees receive the same holiday benefits as other municipal employees when the public safety employee's regular day off occurs on a legal holiday.
(4) (a) The governing authority of any municipality, in its discretion, may expend funds to provide for training and education of newly elected or appointed municipal officials before the beginning of the term of office or employment of such officials. Any expenses incurred for such purposes may be allowed only upon prior approval of the governing authority. Any payments or reimbursements made under the provisions of this subsection may be paid only after presentation to and approval by the governing authority of the municipality.
(b) Within ninety (90) days after taking office, each member of the governing authorities shall attend and complete a course of training and education relating to the duties and responsibilities of municipal governing authorities. The course shall be a total of forty (40) hours in duration and shall be conducted by the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the State Auditor, or the designees of such officials. Any expenses for such training shall be paid out of any available funds of the municipality.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.