Week two of the Regional Advocacy Meetings wrapped up at the Clyburn Intermodal Transportation Center in Sumter for cities in the Santee Lynches COG.The building is former abandoned warehouse now serving as the headquarters for the Santee-Wateree Transportation Authority. There’s an interesting article in Architect magazine about the facility’s restoration.The City of Blackville hosted officials from the Lower Savannah COG cities at the Blackville Community Center. This building is another example of creative reuse of an old building - a former gymnasium built in the 1930s. More than 65 officials from 18 cities participated in this week’s meetings.
|City park next to the Blackville Community Center|
When asked about whether enclave annexation would be an issue in 2017, Scott Slatton, one of the Association’s lobbyists, noted that Rep. Mary Tinkler introduced H4834 in 2016. This bill would have allowed cities to annex by ordinance pockets of land that are less than 25 acres and have been completely surrounded by the city for at least five years.
Late in the 2016 session, a House subcommittee approved the bill, but it was too late in the session for further action. “Since Rep. Tinkler is retiring, another legislator would have to take on sponsorship and leadership on this issue in the next session,” Scott said when asked about the possibility of the bill getting introduced in 2017. He encouraged local officials to talk with their delegation members about their interest in championing this bill.
Senators Kevin Johnson and Thomas McElveen met with the officials assembled in Sumter to give their perspective on State House issues coming up in 2017. Senator McElveen explained why he strongly supported changes in the structure of the SC Department of Transportation last session, noting nothing new can happen if the agency continues to be governed the way it has been in the past.
Senator Johnson was encouraging about the idea of a municipal capital project sales tax that officials discussed. “A referendum could certainly make this idea more acceptable to some who may otherwise oppose it as a tax increase,” he said.
Both senators voiced strong support for the Local Government Fund as well as other municipal issues.
During the discussion part of the agenda, local officials at both meetings expressed a variety of concerns including the Zika threat, accessing funding through the Rural Infrastructure Authority, zoning issues related to “tiny houses,” and funding for stormwater and wastewater needs. (Click the links for more detail about these issues.)
Last week’s blog post touched on the new laws concerning public prayer and ethics filings along with a court case regarding executive session and the Freedom of Information Act.
Next week, we head to Darlington, Beaufort and Greenwood. Learn more and register.