27 Sep Municipal Association Board Retreat: Fun Weekend, Stong Agenda for 2017
Over the weekend, as Board Member, I had the benefit of attending the Municipal Association of SC’s annual Board retreat in Hartsville, SC.
I had not been in the little city for many years, likely since 1976 when I was directing a congressional campaign in the 6th district. I was pleasantly surprised that the little disorganized village surrounded by cotton fields has been transformed into a very beautiful small city, with older buildings restored for new uses, lush street scares, a surplus of parking opportunities, three hotels, Coker College and the Governor’s school. We dined in restaurants as good as any, visited the Black Creek regional arts center and toured the city before going to the Darlington Raceway where we road around the track in pace car.
For a small city, Hartsville has made incredible progress likely through the generous support of several large companies including Sonoco products which has about 1,700 skilled jobs and is a great corporate citizen.
The weekend was not all play though as we discussed this year’s legislative priorities as established through a series of regional panels one of which was hosted by Beaufort and Port Royal at Beaufort City Hall.
During the upcoming legislative session issues to watch are:
- Encouraging business growth and development
Providing Quality Services
- Increase local government appropriations to the level established by law
- Increate opportunities for municipalities to have local option capital projects tax without having to follow county’s lead
- Permit cities to annex certain “enclaves” by ordinance
Increate Law Enforcement Training
- Support funding for Criminal Justice Academy so they can offer more training opportunities for local law enforcement officers
- Increase funding for body worn cameras
- Support reliable funding sources for roads
- Increase municipal representation of County Transportation Committees
- Establish options for cities and towns to recover public funds invested in demolishing unsaleable buildings