The pacesetter for county government is the five-member board of supervisors. This board is the chief policy making and administrative body or unit of the county. For the purpose of selecting a board of supervisors, each county is divided into five districts, commonly referred to as "beats." Each district elects a supervisor who serves a four-year term.
While each supervisor may handle some administrative duties in his or her district, together the members set policy. While each supervisor represents his or her district, all of the members are expected to look after the good of the county as a whole.
Many people think that road construction and maintenance are the only things supervisors do. It is a very important job to be responsible for hundreds of miles of local highways and roads. The board can also set traffic regulations for the county roads. But the board must look after many things in addition to roads.
The power to tax and the power to appropriate and budget funds are the two most significant powers the board exercises. With these powers, the board decides which part of county government gets the largest slice of the "budget pie."
The board can borrow money for the county. It must comply with various purchasing and administrative laws designed for economical and efficient government. It approves the county bills before they are paid
Board meetings are held at least once a month and in most counties, twice a month. Meetings are open to the public. The board serves a unique role in Mississippi counties -- it is the one body which supervises almost everything that goes on in county government.