Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Listening to issues important to our cities and towns

By Scott Slatton, Municipal Association's Legislative and Public Policy Advocate

A rolling stone gathers no moss. And so far this year, neither has my truck! 

From Pickens to Bennettsville to Estill and everywhere in between, I’ve been privileged to meet with city officials all over the state to hear how the Municipal Association can help them solve problems either through training, advocacy or just general conversation.

As you prepare to attend the Regional Advocacy Meetings that start next week, let me share with you the most common issues I’ve heard about during my travels this year.

Infrastructure funding tops the list. Roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems all need reliable funding to keep our cities competitive. While suggestions vary on how to fund infrastructure, there is no disagreement on the needs of cities and towns across the state.

Clearing blight is a frequently mentioned issue. Code enforcement and dilapidated buildings are ongoing problems towns struggle with each day. More money would be helpful, but I’ve observed there are other, inexpensive solutions we need to help cities better understand.

Use of existing tools, commitment to the task, proper ordinances and then rigorous enforcement are all things the Municipal Association can help cities with. Other tools, like the Dilapidated Buildings Act and consistent collection of code enforcement liens, are would-be solutions.

Rounding out the list of frequently-mentioned topics is a perennial Municipal Association legislative priority: annexation. Specifically, the problems caused by enclaves. Changing our state’s laws to allow enclave annexation is a goal we can reach...but only with a tremendous, united effort from city officials and their allies across South Carolina.

What have I missed? Surely, there’s more! We want you to hear from you, so come tell us at an upcoming Regional Advocacy Meeting near you! The meetings start on September 16 and run through October 8. Sign up for the one closest to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment