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Breaking Down the Three Forms of Government

South Carolina state law allows municipalities to choose their governance model from one of three forms of government authorized in SC Code Section 5-5-10

The three forms all have some elements in common, especially the fact that every power granted by the state to municipalities rests with the city or town council, except as otherwise provided for specifically by law. The council is considered a legislative body, and is the only entity within the municipality with the power to enact ordinances, adopt resolutions and establish policies. The council cannot delegate away any of this power. 

Differences do exist between the three forms, especially for administrative functions. A full summary of the differences as defined by South Carolina law can be found in the Forms and Powers of Municipal Government handbook, and the online, on-demand Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government course “Forms of Municipal Government."

Here’s an overview of some of the key differences:


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