Through an all-inclusive process involving hundreds of municipal officials, the Municipal Association of SC identified major challenges facing cities and towns in the state. The 2023 - 2024 Advocacy Initiatives represent solutions to challenges that can be addressed through changes to state law.
The Municipal Association's 2023 – 2024 advocacy initiatives include these items:
- Protect the authority of cities and towns to regulate short-term rentals within municipal boundaries.
Local leaders, working with residents, neighborhoods and businesses, know best how to regulate and manage the challenges presented by short-term rentals. A one-size-fits-all statewide approach to managing short-term rentals in diverse South Carolina cities and towns is not the solution.
- Expand local economic development incentives to cities and towns to allow municipal officials to increase the number of small businesses in downtowns.
Broader local economic development incentives would allow cities and towns to attract more small businesses to downtown hubs and expand opportunities for business owners and residents.
- Support traffic safety measures including a ban on "squat trucks" and other local safety ordinances.
Local police departments need to maintain and enhance the tools necessary to protect residents and visitors.
- Support statewide hate crimes legislation.
Because South Carolina is one of only two states that have not enacted statewide hate crimes legislation, companies are choosing not to locate in the state or host events at municipal venues, causing cities and towns to lose valuable economic development opportunities.
- Allow cities and towns under a certain revenue threshold to complete a compilation of financial statements instead of a full audit.
Applying mostly to small towns with limited budgets, this initiative would require a town under a certain size to complete a less than a traditional audit.
- Allow cities and towns to close doughnut holes, or enclaves, in their municipal limits through a local annexation process.
This would give cities and towns another tool in the toolbox to increase efficiency in service delivery and public safety.
- Require code enforcement liens to be billed and collected by cities, towns and counties in a method similar to what is used for property taxes.
Abandoned and derelict buildings are a problem for cities and towns. This would require code enforcement liens to be collected similar to property taxes.
- Allow cities and towns with no property tax millage to impose a millage with certain limitations.
This legislation would clarify that cities and towns without an operating millage may impose a millage within certain limitations.
- Create an option for municipal residents to approve a Municipal Option Sales Tax penny tax for capital projects within the city limits.
Allow city and town councils to place a referendum on the ballot for a capital penny for improvement projects within the municipal limits.
- Support stronger penalties for illegal fentanyl trafficking and possession.
Cities and towns are seeing increased cases of fentanyl overdoses and need additional penalties for trafficking and possession.
- Clarify how state U.S. Census population estimates for cities and towns are determined, and create an appeals process for resolving potential differences in the estimates between the state and municipalities.
This legislation would create an appeals process for cities and towns whose population estimates differ dramatically from their decennial U.S. Census number.