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​From the Dome to Your Home

House and Senate members were in Columbia briefly on Tuesday. House and Senate budget conferees did not have a conference report ready for members to discuss. The conferees continue to meet to iron out differences in the two versions of the budget, while the Senate passed a continuing budget resolution in case a budget is not adopted.

Changes to Freedom of Information Act discussed in conference calls
Governor McMaster signed H3352 last week that made substantial changes to the current FOIA law. Conference calls scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, to learn about how these changes to FOIA will impact cities are full. Spaces on calls scheduled for Wednesday, May 31, at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. are still available. Contact Michelle Willm at 803.933.1259 or mwillm@masc.sc to register for the call. For information about the changes in the FOIA, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Budget in conference committee
The budget bill conferees met briefly Tuesday afternoon to discuss the two different versions of the budget. Senators Leatherman, Setzler and Bennett and Representatives White, Pitts and Stavrinakis are the conferees.

One of the areas in the budget that is causing debate among conferees is how the state should partially fund the 2 percent increase in the employer contribution rate which takes effect July 1, 2017, for local governments participating in the S.C. Retirement System and Police Officers Retirement System. In most cases, the House version of the budget includes more money than the Senate version for cities and towns that participate in the SCRS and PORS. Get the FY2018 Senate and House LGF distributions by city.

Included in the House version of the budget is:

  • One percent of the 2 percent increase in the SCRS and PORS employer contribution rates funded with recurring revenue. The funding reduces the employer contribution rate for SCRS from 13.56 percent to 12.56 percent and PORS from 16.24 percent to 15.24 percent.
  • $212.6 million in the Local Government Fund for FY2018. This is a decrease of $10.6 million from FY2017. This is a decrease of $1.7 million in the LGF for cities and towns.
  • Hurricane Matthew FEMA match fully funded.
  • Pinnacle Mountain fire FEMA match fully funded.
  • Beach renourishment funded at $5 million of $15 million requested.
  • $700,000 appropriation to the Town of Nichols for Hurricane Matthew recovery.
  • A ten cent increase in the motor fuel user fee (not included in the original House version of the budget)

Included in the Senate version of the budget is:

  • $246.3 million in the Local Government Fund for FY2018. This is an increase of $23.1 million from FY2017. This is an increase of $3.9 million in the LGF for cities and towns. The additional funding is to assist cities, towns and counties with paying the increased state pension contributions.
  • Hurricane Matthew FEMA match 90 percent funded. (less than the House version)
  • Pinnacle Mountain fire FEMA match fully funded. (same as House version)
  • Beach renourishment funded at $7.5 million. (more than the House version)
  • First responder PTSD treatment funded at $500,000. (addition from the House version)
  • 2014 winter storm local match funded at $7.3 million. (addition from the House version)
  • $700,000 loan to the Town of Nichols for disaster recovery. (the House version was a grant instead of a loan)

Contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251 for specific information on the budget.
 
Passed bills
Bills passed in the 2017 legislative session that have an effect on cities and towns are available on the Association's legislative tracking system.
 
Year-end report
The year-end report with a full recap of the 2017 legislative session will be available online in July and at the Annual Meeting in hard copy.

 More resources

Weekly legislative action