More than 250 local elected officials and staff attended Regional Advocacy Meetings in August and September. They shared their concerns and ideas on issues ranging from the Local Government Fund to working with the SC Department of Transportation to local flexibility and infrastructure.
From these nine meetings (one was canceled because of Hurricane Florence), the 2019 advocacy initiatives were identified and approved by both the Municipal Association of South Carolina legislative committee and the board of directors.
What are the initiatives for the upcoming session, and where do local officials fit in? Read on for the priorities of cities and towns and simple tasks that any local elected official can do, regardless of the size or location of their city or town.
Update the Local Government Fund formula to guarantee a reliable funding level that is fair to cities and towns of all sizes.
How can you help? Write down one thing that your city funds with your portion of the Local Government Fund and how that directly affects your residents and businesses. How would dependable funding from the LGF help you better serve your residents?
Expand flexibility for using accommodations and hospitality taxes to allow expenditures for infrastructure and law enforcement in tourist-related areas.
How can you help? Think about tourist-related areas in your hometown and how you could improve the area around it, either with additional law enforcement, improved drainage or roads that lead visitors to you. How would better infrastructure help you attract more tourists?
Reduce the wait time for local law enforcement hires to be admitted to the SC Criminal Justice Academy.
How can you help? Make a list of your police recruits and how long you have waited to get them in the academy. How does this affect the safety of your residents?
Working together, cities and towns and the Municipal Association legislative team can work with legislators to introduce, pass and implement new laws which help municipalities provide more and better services to residents, businesses and visitors.
Remember to always share information related to the advocacy initiatives with the Municipal Association legislative team. Whether it's stories related to one of the initiatives, data from your budget that illustrate those stories, or first-hand accounts from residents and businesses, the legislative team is always looking for different ways to build support for the initiatives.
Look for more tips for communicating with your legislators in the January Uptown. The new two-year session starts on January 8, 2019, at the State House.