Hundreds of local government officials took part in a statewide process in the summer and fall that identified major issues and concerns that cities and towns face in South Carolina. To provide solutions to those challenges, the board of directors of the Municipal Association of SC approved the 2017 advocacy initiatives for cities and towns. Each action item represents a change to state law that would give local governments more tools to meet these challenges. These initiatives are intended to encourage business growth and development, provide quality services, improve law enforcement training, repair and maintain roads, and reduce blight.
The Advocacy Initiatives will be presented at the 2017 Hometown Legislative Action Day on February 1. The deadline for preregistration is January 18.
Encourage business growth and development
For businesses, time is money. Implementing standardized business licensing practices saves businesses time and supports local economic growth.
- Standardize business license tax collection across the state.
Provide quality services
Residents and businesses expect a positive quality of life and economic prosperity in their hometowns. To achieve this, dependable and consistent revenue sources are necessary to support the efficient and effective delivery of municipal services.
- Increase funding for the Local Government Fund to the level that state law requires.
- Increase options for municipalities to roll back property taxes and to raise revenue to support specific capital projects.
- Allow cities to annex certain enclaves by ordinance.
Increase law enforcement training
Law enforcement agencies face the challenge of recruiting, hiring and training highly qualified officers. Increased funding for quality training will result in safer streets and communities.
- Support reliable funding for the Criminal Justice Academy in order to make more training opportunities available to law enforcement officers.
- Increase funding for body-worn cameras.
Repairing and maintaining existing roads and infrastructure includes more than filling in potholes. It's about encouraging and supporting statewide economic development with infrastructure that can accommodate new industry and support existing industry.
- Support reliable funding sources for roads.
- Increase municipal representation on county transportation committees.
Dilapidated structures pose a public safety danger in cities and towns of all sizes. Additional tools to clear blight will protect the safety of residents and visitors and strengthen economic development opportunities for business owners.
- Establish options for cities and towns to recover public funds that are spent to demolish or clean blighted property.