From the very start of the Association in the early 1930s, South Carolina municipal officials understood that only by working together could they effectively communicate the needs and views of municipal government to state and federal lawmakers.
Lobbying the State Legislature and Congress
The Association advocates for changes in state law that give cities more authority to better serve residents and businesses and testifies against legislation that would harm cities. Partnerships play an important part in the Association’s advocacy efforts. The Association monitors federal legislation through the National League of Cities and advocates on behalf of South Carolina cities and towns when federal issues affect the state. Staff Contacts: Casey Fields, Joannie Nickel, Scott Slatton, Erica Wright
Regional Advocacy Meetings
Each fall, the Association hosts 10 Regional Advocacy Meetings around the state to talk about the challenges facing cities and towns and how changes to state law could help meet those challenges. Based in part on input gathered during these conversations, the Association's legislative committee and board of directors set the Association's annual Advocacy Initiatives. Staff Contact: Casey Fields
Legislative Tracking and Reports
During the South Carolina legislative session, the Association actively monitors bills that affect cities and towns and updates the Association's online tracking system to reflect relevant daily bill activity. The online tracking system gives municipal leaders another tool they can use to follow subcommittee, committee and floor action.
Each Friday during the legislative session, municipal officials receive From the Dome to Your Home, which recaps the week's major legislative events and previews the upcoming week's activities. The report is also posted on the Association's website and shared with more than 5,000 social media followers. The legislative team expands on the report with additional information through weekly episodes of the City Quick Connect podcast during the legislative session.
At the end of the legislative session, the Association produces its annual legislative report recapping work on the advocacy initiatives and legislative action on major bills of municipal interest. Staff Contact: Casey Fields
Hometown Legislative Action Day
In February, Hometown Legislative Action Day draws local officials from all over the state to Columbia to receive updates on current legislative issues, visit their local legislators at the State House and connect with legislators at the Association’s annual legislative reception. Staff Contacts: Ken Ivey, Scott Slatton
Legislators, business leaders, the news media and key influencers learn about successes in cities and towns through the Association's online and print resources.
Social Media Channels
The Association's Twitter and Facebook accounts provide up-to-the-minute information on State House activity and share good news stories about cities and towns. A regular schedule of social media posts highlighting Uptown stories amplifies the online version of the monthly newsletter and to the Association's website. The Association’s Instagram account highlights the strength and services of South Carolina’s 271 cities and towns. Staff Contact: Meredith Houck
Several successful publication partnerships spotlight ways strong cities underpin the state's economic development success.
The Association partners with Columbia Business Monthly and Greenville Business Magazine by providing a bimonthly column highlighting business-friendly practices in cities and towns. The partnership with SC Biz magazine to publish the Association's biannual Cities Mean Business magazine highlights how city amenities, initiatives and services improve residents' quality of life, which helps attract economic investment.
Through these partnerships, the value of cities to the state's economic health reaches a wide audience of business leaders and state policy makers. Staff Contact: Russell Cox
City Connect Blog and City Quick Connect Podcast
The City Connect blog offers short, timely updates on a variety of issues. The blog packages information in a format that is useful not only to local officials but also to the news media, legislators and the public. The City Quick Connect podcast gives listeners a chance to hear the latest from Municipal Association staff and others about the issues, the legislation and the support services impacting cities and towns. Staff Contact: Russell Cox
The Association plays an important role in developing municipal elected officials' and employees' knowledge and skills through a wide range of training programs, publications and meetings.
The Municipal Association supports 11 affiliate organizations by providing training and networking for a variety of local government positions with specialized training needs.
In addition to traditional face-to-face training and networking opportunities, the affiliate associations offer listserves for members to share best practices and to pose specific questions related to their local government responsibilities. Staff Contact: Ken Ivey
Association of South Carolina Mayors
The Association of South Carolina Mayors provides opportunities for its members to more fully engage in advocating for issues that affect cities and towns, to network, to take part in educational activities, and to share ideas and best practices. Staff Contact: Casey Fields
Municipal Court Administration Association of SC
The Municipal Court Administration Association of South Carolina offers training at two workshops for court administrators, clerks of court, municipal judges and other municipal employees involved in court administration. The Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and Specialization and the Office of Victims Services recognizes these workshops for continuing education credits. Staff Contact: Sara Whitaker
Municipal Technology Association of SC
The Municipal Technology Association of SC promotes municipalities' effective use of technology. MTASC exposes its members to a broad range of technology systems, platforms and solutions. The training serves IT staff and those with GIS responsibilities, in addition to employees who work in other departments but have technology-related duties. Staff Contact: Sara Whitaker
SC Association of Municipal Power Systems
Twenty of the municipal electric utilities are members of the SC Association of Municipal Power Systems. Originally, SCAMPS existed solely to help one another during times of disaster. Although mutual aid is still the backbone of SCAMPS, the affiliate's scope also includes legislative initiatives and training for electrical personnel. Staff Contact: Elizabeth Copeland
SC Association of Stormwater Managers
The SC Association of Stormwater Managers offers its members quarterly training on stormwater management policies and best practices. The SC Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors recognizes the quarterly training sessions for continuing education credits. Staff Contact: Sara Whitaker
SC Business Licensing Officials Association
The South Carolina Business Licensing Officials Association promotes best practices for administering and enforcing the local business license tax. Through rigorous training sessions, members learn skills and practices that make licensing in their cities and towns more efficient and business friendly.
The professional designation programs of Accreditation in Business Licensing and Masters in Business Licensing reflects members' dedication to continuing education. Staff Contact: Elizabeth Copeland
SC Community Development Association
The South Carolina Community Development Association provides educational forums for its members to address economic and community development needs. Members include municipal, county, regional and state community development professionals; employees of private companies with an interest in community development; elected officials; and volunteers. Staff Contact: Sara Whitaker
SC Municipal Attorneys Association
The South Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association's annual meeting covers issues important to municipal attorneys, whether working as municipal staff or as a municipality's outside counsel. The Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and Specialization approves this training session for continuing education credits. Staff Contact: Eric Shytle
SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association
The South Carolina Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association offers training programs covering the diverse responsibilities of its members. All of the training sessions qualify for a combination of continuing education credits for certified municipal clerks, certified public accountants and certified public treasurers. MFOCTA sponsors the Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute with the Municipal Association and the College of Charleston's Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities. Staff Contact: Elizabeth Copeland
SC Municipal Human Resources Association
The South Carolina Municipal Human Resources Association promotes sound human resources administration and encourages innovative programs. Through its training programs, MHRA provides information and the opportunity to exchange ideas among its members. The national Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resources Management recognize this training for continuing education credits. Staff Contact: Sara Whitaker
SC Utility Billing Association
The South Carolina Utility Billing Association provides training and networking opportunities for its members, including billing clerks, meter readers and department managers. SCUBA's meetings encompass a variety of topics focused on customer service, safety in the workplace, and new technologies to increase the efficiencies of utility billing and collections. Staff Contact: Ken Ivey
Educational opportunities are available to municipal officials through four training institutes.
SC Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government
The SC Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government trains elected officials to increase their understanding of local government operations. Elected officials take seven required courses to complete the institute. The required courses consist of two day-long sessions held each February in Columbia the day after Hometown Legislative Action Day and five additional classes, held yearly at the 10 councils of governments' locations or through an on-demand format found on the Association's website. Staff Contact: Urica Floyd
SC Advanced Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government
Offered exclusively for graduates of the MEO Institute, the Advanced Institute gives elected officials the opportunity to continue their education. To complete the Advanced Institute, participants must take four of the six offered courses that explore in greater depth topics included in the MEO Institute and other topics critical for effective municipal operations. Advanced Institute graduates also have the opportunity to participate in an Advanced Continuing Education program. Staff Contact: Urica Floyd
Business Licensing Training Institute
The Business Licensing Training Institute educates municipal and county officials on the basics of administering a business licensing program. To complete the institute, officials must complete three day-long training classes, which are offered across three years. Once they complete the training classes, officials may take an exam to earn the Accreditation in Business Licensing credential. The SC Business Licensing Officials Association sponsors the institute. Staff Contact: Elizabeth Copeland
Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute
The Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute offers instruction in several areas, including forms of government, financial management, the role of the municipal clerk and business licensing. The Association sponsors MCTI in partnership with the SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association and the College of Charleston's Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities. Staff Contact: Elizabeth Copeland
Each summer, the Annual Meeting brings municipal officials together for training, networking and discussion of issues of common interest. Officials hear from state and nationally known speakers, participate in sessions, and learn about new technology and developments in local government. Staff Contact: Ken Ivey
The Association's two field services managers travel the state to offer hands-on technical assistance, training and consultation to help municipalities address challenges. Staff Contacts: Charlie Barrineau and Ashley Kellahan
Main Street South Carolina
Main Street SC helps its members revitalize their downtowns into vibrant centers of commerce and community by using the National Main Street Center's "Main Street Approach," which emphasizes organization, promotion, design and economic vitality. Main Street SC empowers member programs, of varying levels of preparedness and resources, with the knowledge, skills, tools and organizational structure necessary to succeed in downtown revitalization. At the startup level, members build capacity for downtown revitalization. At the Aspiring Main Street level, participants receive three years of intensive technical assistance and training, and then transition into a Classic Main Street program. Members at the highest level meet national accreditation standards.
Each year, Main Street SC honors exceptional member accomplishments through its Inspiration Awards. Staff Contact: Jenny Boulware
The Association's print and online resources address hundreds of topics related to municipal government.
The Association publishes a variety of manuals and handbooks on topics of municipal interest.
- Annexation Handbook
- Comprehensive Planning Guide for Local Governments
- Election Handbook
- Forms and Powers of Municipal Government
- Handbook for Municipal Officials in South Carolina (updated in 2017)
- The Municipal Association of South Carolina 1930–2015: A History of Shared Voices, Shared Knowledge, Shared Solutions
- How to Conduct Effective Meetings (updated in 2017)
- Incorporation Handbook
- Model Employee Handbook for SC Municipalities
- Municipal Officials and Legislative Directory
- Public Official's Guide to Compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (published by the SC Press Association)
- Raising Hometown Voices to a New Level of Influence, an advocacy guide
- South Carolina Business License Handbook (updated in 2019)
- Tips for Hometown Media Success
Staff Contact: Eric Budds
The Municipal Association's website, www.masc.sc, offers more than 2,000 pages; 2,000 documents, presentations and links to external resources; and more than 600 in-state municipal job postings. With a responsive design to fit the needs and formats of mobile and desktop devices, the site includes a powerful search engine and information center to help users navigate to specific resources of interest. Staff Contact: Meredith Houck
Uptown is a monthly magazine-style newsletter in print and electronic formats that features articles on a variety of topics important to municipal officials. Each issue's special section looks in depth at a topic central to local government.
A weekly e-newsletter, Uptown Update, informs municipal officials about a variety of timely opportunities, including meeting registrations, training events and grants. A regular feature, "In Case You Missed It," gives Uptown Update readers a second look at past articles and posts from the Association's publications. Staff Contact: Russell Cox
The Daily News email provides links to news stories about the state's smallest rural towns to its largest cities. The articles highlight how local governments deliver services. Staff Contact: Russell Cox
The Uplift is an email delivering a collection of news links every Wednesday showcasing South Carolina cities and towns at their best. Staff Contact: Russell Cox
The Achievement Awards recognize successful and innovative projects that improve the quality of life for residents and add value to communities. The program also encourages municipal officials to share ideas. Staff Contact: Meredith Houck
Cities and towns face many of the same challenges and can find solutions by pooling resources and ideas through the Association.
Local Revenue Services
Municipalities contract with the Association to collect delinquent debts and certain business license taxes on their behalf. These programs provide centralized and efficient collections for participating municipalities and streamline the tax payment process for businesses. The Association provides an online portal for cities participating in the insurance, brokers, and telecommunications tax collection programs as well as the Setoff Debt program to securely access current and past collection program documents.
Broker's Tax Program
The SC Department of Insurance collects the municipal broker's premium tax, and cities and towns contract with the Municipal Association to disburse the tax. Staff Contacts: Caitlin Cothran, Kaylee Summerton
Insurance Tax Program
The Municipal Association collects municipal business license taxes due from insurance companies and distributes the taxes owed to municipalities.
The Association notifies all insurance companies of the payment process, uses industry data to confirm all companies paid according to municipal ordinances, and provides a portal for the reporting and payment of the tax. Cities save time and money by contracting with the Association for these services rather than all duplicating the same processes. Insurance companies save time and money by reporting to and paying one entity rather than multiple cities and towns. Many pay the tax through the Association's portal. Staff Contacts: Fran Adcock, Caitlin Cothran, Anita Lancaster, Kaylee Summerton
Setoff Debt Program
In cooperation with the SC Department of Revenue, the Association collects delinquent debts, such as utility bills, taxes and court fines. These payments are remitted to participating entities to whom the debts were owed. The Association provides software to all participating entities to streamline their program administration and ensure compliance with state regulations. Staff Contacts: Caitlin Cothran, Anita Lancaster
Telecommunications Tax Program
The Association collects business license taxes owed to participating municipalities from telecommunication companies.
Cities and towns contract with the Association to collect the tax as provided for in state law. The contract streamlines the payment process for telecommunications companies. It also saves cities and towns time and money by eliminating the need for each to perform the same processes. Staff Contacts: Caitlin Cothran, Kaylee Summerton
Risk Management Services
The two self-funded insurance programs administered by the Association's Risk Management Services staff are prime examples of strength and efficiency through combined efforts of member cities. Each program operates under the direction of a board of trustees composed of representatives from its membership.
The SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund, provides all lines of property and casualty coverage, including tort liability, law enforcement liability, public officials' liability as well as property and automobile coverage.
The SC Municipal Insurance Trust, provides workers' compensation coverage for municipal employees.
RMS provides grants, attorney hotlines, employee training and loss control services to members. These services help members improve risk management efforts, prevent claims and reduce the cost of insurance. Staff contact: Heather Ricard
RMS members have access to online and in-person training at no charge.
- Customized, on-site training: RMS provides training for members in their hometowns, allowing city employees to attend sessions together.
- Online training: The online training opportunities include a variety of risk management, human resources, safety and law enforcement topics, including use of force and pursuit driving.
- Statewide and regional training: RMS offers members regional training sessions on topics such as law enforcement liability, OSHA confined space training, risk management 101 and defensive driving.
- Risk Management Institute: RMI offers participants from SCMIT- and SCMIRF-member organizations specialized training in the role of risk manager and safety coordinator.
- RiskLetter: The quarterly e-newsletter provides information on a wide range of risk management topics.
- Law enforcement simulator: RMS offers members access to a law enforcement training simulator that allows officers to practice their decision-making skills and responses to resistance.
Loss Control/Technical Assistance
RMS helps its members build effective safety and loss control programs.
- Model policies and procedures manuals for law enforcement and fire services: SCMIT and SCMIRF members receive updated fire and law enforcement policies.
- One-on-one technical assistance visits: The loss control staff meet with member organizations to evaluate their safety and loss control programs.
- Legal hotlines: SCMIRF members can access up to 10 hours of free legal advice on each legal hotline for labor and liability issues.
- Education tools: SCMIRF members have access to cybersecurity services through the online tool, eRisk Hub, in addition to specialized toolkits, including parks and recreation liability, public officials' liability, sewer backups, special events liability and workers' compensation.
The RMS grant program helps RMS members purchase products or equipment to reduce the frequency and severity of claims.
- SCMIRF awards the Law Enforcement Liability Reduction Grant Program grants to member law enforcement agencies to purchase stun guns or Tasers, Taser cameras, body cameras and equipment.
- SCMIRF awards the Public Works Property and Liability Reduction Grant Program grants to member public works and utilities departments to purchase items to address the frequency and severity of claims, including back-up cameras, collision avoidance systems, concrete scarifiers, sewer cameras, meter locks and other equipment.
SCMIT awards grants to member law enforcement, fire and public works departments to purchase work-zone safety equipment, soft body armor and other protective gear.
South Carolina Other Retirement Benefits Employer Trust
The South Carolina Other Retirement Benefits Employer Trust allows cities to set aside funds for nonpension benefits, such as retiree healthcare, as required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. Each member shares in the Trust's administrative and investment related expenses, lowering the overall cost of compliance for each local government. Staff Contact: Heather Ricard
Hometown Economic Development Grants
The Municipal Association's Hometown Economic Development Grants provide cities and towns with funds to implement economic development projects that will have positive effects on the quality of life in their communities. The Hometown Economic Development Grants are awarded annually. Staff Contact: Scott Slatton
The Association, in partnership with VC3, provides discounted technology services to cities and towns. VC3, an information technology company headquartered in Columbia, designs and hosts municipal websites; designs and implements computer networks; and provides security, disaster recovery, strategic technology planning and voice communication services. Staff Contact: Jake Broom
Cable Franchise Assistance and Telecommunication Infrastructure Siting Program
The Association partners with Local Government Services LLC, to assist members with cable franchises, pole attachment agreements, and cellular and small cell antenna leases and ordinances. This program gives local governments access to the expertise required to negotiate benefits and services with reasonable terms. Staff Contact: Eric Budds