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The SC General Assembly met in regular session this week. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate worked through bills on the calendar, adopting versions of state American Rescue Plan Act funding distribution.  

Senate introduces less-than audit bill 
Sen. Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) introduced S1078 on Thursday to allow municipalities with less than $500,000 in total revenue to provide a compilation of financial statements instead of a full audit. Association staff has been working with the State Auditor and State Treasurer on this bill for several years to help those small towns in providing financial information without the financial burden of a full audit. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  

For questions about this bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203. 

Senate approves ARP and SRS funding distribution 
The Senate approved committee recommendations for S956, the joint resolution that distributes the Savannah River Site lawsuit settlement funds paid to the state. The total settlement to the state is $525 million. The recommendations include these items: 

  • $341,250,000 to the SC Department of Administration for the three Savannah River Site primary counties 
  • $52,448,276 to the SC Department of Administration for the 10 Savannah River Site perimeter counties 
  • $131,301,724 to 43 of the state's 46 County Transportation Committees 

The Senate also approved S952, the American Rescue Plan Act state allocation. The following recommendations are in the Senate ARP resolution:  

  • $453,499,758 to the SC Department of Transportation to accelerate the completion of projects included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. 
  • $400,000,000 to the Office of Regulatory Staff to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved households, businesses, and communities. 
  • $900,000,000 to the Rural Infrastructure Authority to administer three competitive grant programs designed to provide for improvements in water, wastewater, and storm water infrastructure throughout the state. 

The three RIA competitive grant types include:  

Infrastructure Grants – $800,000,000  

  • 60% of the grant funds will go to large utilities and require a 25% match.   
  • 40% of the grant funds will go to small utilities and require a 15% match.  
  • The maximum grant amount is $10 million per project.    

Regional Solutions Grants – $80,000,000   

  • The maximum grant amount is $10 million per project.   
  • This grant is designed for regional partnerships among large and small systems, including consolidation. A 15% match is required.   

Planning Grants – $20,000,000  

  • The maximum grant amount is $1 million per project.   
  • This grant is designed for very small systems that serve populations of 3,300 or less. No match is required.  

These bills now go to the House for debate. For questions about these bills, contact Erica Wright (ewright@masc.sc) at 803.354.4793.  

House of Representatives approves state ARP allocation  
The House of Representatives approved the Ways and Means Committee recommendations for allocating state ARP funding.  

The recommendations approved by the House in H4408 include: 

  • $453,499,758 to the SC Department of Transportation to accelerate the completion of projects included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program 
  • $400 million to the Office of Regulatory Staff to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved households, businesses and communities 
  • $100 million to the SC Office of Resilience for stormwater infrastructure projects and acquisitions of coastal barrier property in the floodplain 
  • $8 million to the SC Department of Administration for professional grant management services 
  • $800 million to the Rural Infrastructure Authority to administer three competitive grant programs designed to provide for improvements in water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure throughout the state 

Infrastructure Grants – $718 million 
RIA will retain up to $6 million for administrative costs and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control will retain up to $6 million for permitting costs. 

  • The maximum grant amount is $10 million per project. 
  • Large utilities will be required to provide a 25% match.   
  • Small utilities will be required to provide a 15% match.    
  • Each of the 10 councils of governments will receive $500,000 to provide planning assistance, development of grant application proposals and compliance assistance for smaller systems. 

Regional Solutions Grants – $50 million 

  • The maximum grant amount is $10 million per project.   
  • This grant is designed for regional partnerships among large and small systems, including consolidation. A 15% match from the utility is required.   

Planning Grants – $20 million 

  • The maximum grant amount is $1 million per project.   
  • Grants may be used for capital improvement planning, rate studies, asset management, mapping, and other necessary analyses. 
  • This grant is designed for very small systems that serve populations of 3,300 or less. No match is required.  

This bill now goes to the Senate for debate. For questions about this bill, contact Erica Wright (ewright@masc.sc) at 803.354.4793.