From the Dome to Your Home
House and Senate members returned to Columbia on Monday, June 21, to adopt the state budget conference committee report. Legislators will return to Columbia on Tuesday, June 29, to consider gubernatorial vetoes in the budget.
Both chambers adopted the state budget conference committee report and sent the bill to the governor’s desk for vetoes. The final budget includes the following items related to cities and towns:
- $17.9 million to the Local Government Fund base amount.
- $3.7 million for the supplemental insurance policy for South Carolina firefighters diagnosed with cancer, which complies with Act 168, passed by the General Assembly in 2020.
- $500,000 in recurring funds for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment services for first responders. This is an item that has been included in the budget since 2016, but it was funded with non-recurring money. $250,000 is allocated to the SC Law Enforcement Assistance Program for police officers, and $250,000 is allocated to the SC First Responders Assistance and Support Team for firefighters.
- A 1% credit for employers’ retirement system contributions to offset the increase.
- Proviso 105.6 directs the SC State Auditor to issue a statewide contract for auditing services for cities and towns to conduct annual audits, and directs the State Auditor to convene a working group of stakeholders to develop appropriate audit requirements for cities and towns.
- Proviso 98.9 compels the SC State Treasurer to release to cities and towns two years’ worth of Local Government Funds being withheld from them as a result of not completing annual audits.
Provisos that allowed cities and towns to regulate nighttime golf cart use and prohibited cities and towns from banning short term rentals did not make it in the final budget.
If you have any questions about the budget, contact Joannie Nickel (firstname.lastname@example.org
) at 803.354.4794.
American Rescue Plan Update
The American Rescue Plan designated $65.1 billion to local governments across the nation. In South Carolina, 17 cities and towns were designated as metropolitan cities, which provides them immediate access to their portion of ARP funds.
The remaining 254 cities and towns in South Carolina are classified as non-entitlement units of local government, which means they must rely on the state of South Carolina to provide them with access to their ARP funds. Before payments can be distributed to these cities and towns, the state must first submit a request to the U.S. Department of Treasury for its $2.5 billion allocation from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund.
South Carolina has not yet submitted to Treasury its request for payment, which means the remaining 254 cities and towns cannot yet use their ARP allocation.
The Municipal Association is actively working with legislators, legislative staff and state agency officials and encouraging them to request from Treasury the state and local ARP funds as soon as possible.
The Association sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter), urging the state to draw down and distribute federal American Rescue Plan dollars as soon as possible.
The Association legislative team has had numerous conversations with staff from the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, advocating for the swift draw down and distribution of funds.
Association staff has also engaged in conversations with Gov. McMaster and Chairman James Burns of the AccelerateSC Task Force to ensure that funding designated for non-entitlement units of local government is requested and distributed as soon as possible and without interference.
Association staff will continue working diligently to urge state leaders to move swiftly in drawing down the $435 million allocated to SC’s non-entitlement units of government. To lend your local voice to statewide efforts, contact your House and Senate members and encourage them to ask leadership in the House of Representatives and Senate to act as soon as possible.
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