1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2004 Session

Disclaimer
This statutory database is current through the 2004 Regular Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2005, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.

Title 6 - Local Government - Provisions Applicable to Special Purpose Districts and Other Political Subdivisions

CHAPTER 1.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

ARTICLE 1.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

SECTION 6-1-10. Power of political subdivisions to proceed under legislation dealing with bankruptcy or composition of indebtedness.

The consent of the State is hereby granted to, and all appropriate powers are hereby conferred upon, any county, municipal corporation, township, school district, drainage district or other taxing or governmental unit organized under the laws of the State to institute any appropriate action and in any other respect to proceed under and take advantage of and avail itself of the benefits and privileges conferred, and to accept the burdens and obligations created, by any existing act of the Congress of the United States and any future enactment of the Congress of the United States relating to bankruptcy or the composition of indebtedness on the part of the counties, municipal corporations, townships, school districts, drainage districts and other taxing or governmental units or any of them.

SECTION 6-1-20. Contractual agreements to provide joint public facilities and services authorized.

Local governments, including counties, municipalities and special service districts, may enter into contractual agreements with each other to provide joint public facilities and services when considered mutually desirable.

The governing body of each local government entering into such agreements for joint public facilities and services shall approve the contractual agreement and be parties thereto.

The provisions of this section shall not be construed to restrict the powers of the participating local governments nor permit the levy of taxes not otherwise authorized by law.

SECTION 6-1-30. Counties and municipalities authorized to implement Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

All counties and municipalities of this State may by appropriate resolution or ordinance implement the provisions of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, Public Law 93-383, enacted by the Congress of the United States, and shall be authorized to engage in all community development activities encompassed therein, including, but not limited to, the application for funds; designation of officials for administration of grants; acquisition of eligible property; appropriation of funds for eligible projects, property rehabilitation loans, grants and loan guarantees, relocation assistance, planning, management and administrative costs; and the execution of all plans, contracts, certifications, applications, agreements, indemnities, reports, guarantees and other documents required thereby. Local governments may enter into mutual contracts to accomplish the purposes of this section.

SECTION 6-1-35. Preservation and protection of cemeteries.

(A) Counties and municipalities are authorized to preserve and protect any cemetery located within its jurisdiction which the county or municipality determines has been abandoned or is not being maintained and are further authorized to expend public funds and use county or municipal inmate labor, in the manner authorized by law, in connection with the cemetery.

(B) As used in this section, the term "preserve and protect" means to keep safe from destruction, peril, or other adversity and may include the placement of signs, markers, fencing, or other appropriate features so as to identify the site as a cemetery and so as to aid in the preservation and protection of the abandoned cemetery.

SECTION 6-1-40. Interstate extension of water and sewer systems.

No water or sewage system owned or operated by a county, municipality, special purpose district, or political subdivision created, organized, or existing under the laws of any other state may be extended, leased, or operated in the unincorporated area of any county of this State unless the county governing body wherein the system is proposed to be extended, leased, or operated has by ordinance approved and authorized the extension, lease, or operation.

SECTION 6-1-50. Financial report required.

Counties and municipalities receiving revenues from state aid, currently known as Aid to Subdivisions, shall submit annually to the Comptroller General a financial report detailing sources of revenue, expenditures by category, indebtedness, and other information as the Comptroller General requires. The federal revenue sharing document may be substituted for the financial report as long as it is required by the Federal Office of Revenue Sharing. The Comptroller General, in conjunction with the Budget and Control Board, Division of Research and Statistical Services, shall determine the contents and format of the report and the date of submission. Failure to submit the report shall result in the withholding of ten percent of the current year's state aid. The Budget and Control Board, Division of Research and Statistical Services, is responsible for maintaining existing financial data bases as exists with the Federal Office of Revenue Sharing. In conjunction with the Comptroller General, Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and the University of South Carolina Bureau of Governmental Research and Service, the Division of Research and Statistical Services of the Budget and Control Board shall produce a comprehensive report of this data and submit it to the General Assembly no later than June first of each year.

SECTION 6-1-70. Prohibition on real estate transfer fees; exceptions.

(A) Except as provided in subsection (B), the governing body of each county, municipality, school district, or special purpose district may not impose any fee or tax of any nature or description on the transfer of real property unless the General Assembly has expressly authorized by general law the imposition of the fee or tax.

(B) A municipality that originally enacted a real estate transfer fee prior to January 1, 1991 may impose and collect a real estate transfer fee, by ordinance, regardless of whether imposition of the fee was discontinued for a period after January 1, 1991.

SECTION 6-1-75. Allocation of aid to counties based on population of annexed areas.

Where a portion of one county is annexed to another county, the total amount allocated by the General Assembly under Aid to Subdivisions to the two counties must not exceed the total which would be allocated to the two counties separately. However, the population of the annexed areas must be taken into consideration in determining the proportionate share of the total allocation due to each county.

SECTION 6-1-80. Budget adoption.

(A) A county, municipality, special purpose or public service district, and a school district shall provide notice to the public by advertising the public hearing before the adoption of its budget for the next fiscal year in at least one South Carolina newspaper of general circulation in the area. This notice must be given not less than fifteen days in advance of the public hearing and must be a minimum of two columns wide with a bold headline.

(B) The notice must include the following:

(1) the governing entity's name;

(2) the time, date, and location of the public hearing on the budget;

(3) the total revenues and expenditures from the current operating fiscal year's budget of the governing entity;

(4) the proposed total projected revenue and operating expenditures for the next fiscal year as estimated in next year's budget for the governing entity;

(5) the proposed or estimated percentage change in estimated operating budgets between the current fiscal year and the proposed budget;

(6) the millage for the current fiscal year; and

(7) the estimated millage in dollars as necessary for the next fiscal year's proposed budget.

(C) This notice is given in lieu of the requirements of Section 4-9-130.

SECTION 6-1-85. Monitor, review of tax burden borne by certain classes of property; determination and estimation of tax incidence; publication of reports.

(A) The Budget and Control Board, Division of Budget and Analyses, shall monitor and review the tax burden borne by the classes of property listed in Article X, Section 1 of the State Constitution. To determine the tax burden of each class of property, the Division of Budget and Analyses may use a ratio that compares total property taxes paid by the property class divided by the total fair market value of the property class. The Department of Revenue shall provide to the Division of Budget and Analyses the information on assessed values and fair market values of properties as collected in accordance with Section 59-20-20(3).

(B) The Budget and Control Board, Division of Budget and Analyses, shall develop a methodology to determine and estimate tax incidence. A tax incidence statement, prepared by the Division of Budget and Analyses, must be attached to any bill or resolution that has the potential to cause a shift in tax incidence. The tax incidence refers to the ultimate payer of a tax.

(C) The Budget and Control Board, Division of Budget and Analyses, may consult with outside experts with respect to fulfilling the requirements of subsections (A) and (B) of this section.

(D) Reports of the Budget and Control Board, Division of Budget and Analyses required under this section must be published and reported to the Governor, the members of the Budget and Control Board, the members of the General Assembly and made available to the public.

SECTION 6-1-110. Moratorium prohibited; notification requirement.

No municipality or county may adopt an ordinance which imposes a moratorium on a construction project for which a permit has been granted without giving a two-week notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the project is located. No moratorium may be imposed without at least two readings which are a week apart.

SECTION 6-1-120. Confidentiality of county or municipal taxpayer information.

(A) Except in accordance with a proper judicial order or as otherwise provided by the Freedom of Information Act, it is unlawful for an officer or employee of a county or municipality, or the agent of such an officer or employee to divulge or make known in any manner the financial information, or other information indicative of units of goods or services sold, provided by a taxpayer included in a report, tax return, or application required to be filed by the taxpayer with that county or municipality pursuant to a county or municipal ordinance imposing a:

(1) tax authorized under Article 5 or Article 7;

(2) business license tax authorized under Section 4-9-30(12) or Section 5-7-30;

(3) fee the measure of which is:

(a) gross proceeds of sales of goods or services; or

(b) paid admissions to a place of amusement.

(B) Nothing in this section prohibits the:

(1) publication of statistics classified to prevent the identification of particular reports, returns, or applications and the information on them;

(2) inspection of reports, returns, or applications and the information included on them by an officer or employee of the county or municipality, or an agent retained by an officer or employee, in connection with audits of the taxpayer, appeals by the taxpayer, and collection efforts in connection with the tax or fee which is the subject of the return, report, or application;

(3) sharing of data between public officials or employees in the performance of their duties.

(C) A person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. In addition, if the person convicted is an officer or employee of the county or municipality, the offender must be dismissed from the office or position held and is disqualified from holding a public office in this State for five years following the conviction.

SECTION 6-1-130. Political subdivisions; scope of authority to set minimum wage rates.

(A) For purposes of this section "political subdivision" includes, but is not limited to a municipality, county, school district, special purpose district, or public service district.

(B) A political subdivision of this State may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require a minimum wage rate that exceeds the federal minimum wage rate set forth in Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. 206. Also, a political subdivision of this State may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require a minimum wage rate related to employee wages that are exempt under 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

(C) This section does not limit the authority of political subdivisions to establish wage rates in contracts to which they are a party.

(D) For purposes of this section, "wage" has the same meaning set forth in Section 3(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. 203(m).

SECTION 6-1-140. Advisory referenda regarding activities of local or regional hospitals.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for political subdivisions of this State that were created to operate hospitals on a local or regional basis, which receive Medicaid funds to directly provide health care services, and whose governing body is not a county board, committee, or commission within the meaning of Section 4-9-170, the ability to call for or conduct advisory referenda regarding their activities shall rest solely with the governing board of the political subdivision or a governmental body which appoints the board, including a county legislative delegation.

ARTICLE 3.

AUTHORITY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO ASSESS TAXES AND FEES

SECTION 6-1-300. Definitions.

As used in the article:

(1) "Consumer price index" means the consumer price index for all-urban consumers published by the U.S. Department of Labor. In the event of a revision of the consumer price index, the index that is most consistent with the consumer price index for all-urban consumers as calculated in 1996 must be used.

(2) "Intergovernmental transfer of funding responsibility" means an act, resolution, court order, administrative order, or other action by a higher level of government that requires a lower level of government to use its own funds, personnel, facilities, or equipment.

(3) "Local governing body" means the governing body of a county, municipality, or special purpose district. As used in Section 6-1-320 only, local governing body also refers to the body authorized by law to levy school taxes.

(4) "New tax" is a tax that the local governing body had not enacted as of December 31, 1996.

(5) "Positive majority" means a vote for adoption by the majority of the members of the entire governing body, whether present or not. However, if there is a vacancy in the membership of the governing body, a positive majority vote of the entire governing body as constituted on the date of the final vote on the imposition is required.

(6) "Service or user fee" means a charge required to be paid in return for a particular government service or program made available to the payer that benefits the payer in some manner different from the members of the general public not paying the fee. "Service or user fee" also includes "uniform service charges".

(7) "Specifically authorized by the General Assembly" means an express grant of power:

(a) in a prior act;

(b) by this act; or

(c) in a future act.

SECTION 6-1-310. Prohibition on imposition of new local taxes.

A local governing body may not impose a new tax after December 31, 1996, unless specifically authorized by the General Assembly.

SECTION 6-1-315. Limitation on imposition or increase of business license tax.

By ordinance adopted by a positive majority vote, a local governing body may impose a business license tax or increase the rate of a business license tax, authorized by Sections 4-9-30(12) and 5-7-30.

SECTION 6-1-320. Millage rate increase limitation; exceptions.

(A) Notwithstanding Section 12-37-251(E), a local governing body may increase the millage rate imposed for general operating purposes above the rate imposed for such purposes for the preceding tax year only to the extent of the increase in the consumer price index for the preceding calendar year. However, in the year in which a reassessment program is implemented, the rollback millage, as calculated pursuant to Section 12-37-251(E), must be used in lieu of the previous year's millage rate.

(B) Notwithstanding the limitation upon millage rate increases contained in subsection (A), the millage rate limitation may be suspended and the millage rate may be increased for the following purposes:

(1) in response to a natural, environmental, or other disaster as declared by the Governor;

(2) to offset a prior year's deficit, as required by Section 7, Article X of the South Carolina Constitution;

(3) to raise the revenue necessary to comply with judicial mandates requiring the use of county or municipal funds, personnel, facilities, or equipment;

(4) to meet the minimum required local Education Finance Act inflation factor as projected by the State Budget and Control Board, Division of Research and Statistics, and the per pupil maintenance of effort requirement of Section 59-21-1030, if applicable.

(C) The millage rate limitation provided for in subsection (A) of this section may be overridden and the millage rate may be further increased by a positive majority vote of the appropriate governing body. The vote must be taken at a specially-called meeting held solely for the purpose of taking a vote to increase the millage rate. The governing body must provide public notice of the meeting notifying the public that the governing body is meeting to vote to override the limitation and increase the millage rate. Public comment must be received by the governing body prior to the override vote.

(D) The restriction contained in this section does not affect millage that is levied to pay bonded indebtedness or payments for real property purchased using a lease-purchase agreement or used to maintain a reserve account. Nothing in this section prohibits the use of energy-saving performance contracts as provided in Section 48-52-670.

(E) Notwithstanding any provision contained herein, this article does not and may not be construed to amend or to repeal the rights of a legislative delegation to set or restrict school district millage, and this article does not and may not be construed to amend or to repeal any caps on school millage provided by current law or statute or limitation on the fiscal autonomy of a school district as currently in existing law.

(F) The positive majority vote of the governing body required by this section does not apply to school districts that have their budgets approved by qualified electors at a town meeting.

SECTION 6-1-330. Local fee imposition limitations.

(A) A local governing body, by ordinance approved by a positive majority, is authorized to charge and collect a service or user fee. A local governing body must provide public notice of any new service or user fee being considered and the governing body is required to hold a public hearing on any proposed new service or user fee prior to final adoption of any new service or user fee. Public comment must be received by the governing body prior to the final reading of the ordinance to adopt a new service or user fee. A fee adopted or imposed by a local governing body prior to December 31, 1996, remains in force and effect until repealed by the enacting local governing body, notwithstanding the provisions of this section.

(B) The revenue derived from a service or user fee imposed to finance the provision of public services must be used to pay costs related to the provision of the service or program for which the fee was paid. If the revenue generated by a fee is five percent or more of the imposing entity's prior fiscal year's total budget, the proceeds of the fee must be kept in a separate and segregated fund from the general fund of the imposing governmental entity.

(C) If a governmental entity proposes to adopt a service or user fee to fund a service that was previously funded by property tax revenue, the notice required pursuant to Section 6-1-80 must include that fact in the text of the published notice.

ARTICLE 5.

LOCAL ACCOMMODATIONS TAX

SECTION 6-1-500. Short title.

This article may be cited as the "Local Accommodations Tax Act".

SECTION 6-1-510. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) "Local accommodations tax" means a tax on the gross proceeds derived from the rental or charges for accommodations furnished to transients as provided in Section 12-36-920(A) and which is imposed on every person engaged or continuing within the jurisdiction of the imposing local governmental body in the business of furnishing accommodations to transients for consideration.

(2) "Local governing body" means the governing body of a county or municipality.

(3) "Positive majority" means a vote for adoption by the majority of the members of the entire governing body, whether present or not. However, if there is a vacancy in the membership of the governing body, a positive majority vote of the entire governing body as constituted on the date of the final vote on the imposition is required.

SECTION 6-1-520. Imposition of local accommodations tax.

(A) A local governing body may impose, by ordinance, a local accommodations tax, not to exceed three percent. However, an ordinance imposing the local accommodations tax must be adopted by a positive majority vote. The governing body of a county may not impose a local accommodations tax in excess of one and one-half percent within the boundaries of a municipality without the consent, by resolution, of the appropriate municipal governing body.

(B) All proceeds from a local accommodations tax must be kept in a separate fund segregated from the imposing entity's general fund. All interest generated by the local accommodations tax fund must be credited to the local accommodations tax fund.

SECTION 6-1-530. Use of revenue from local accommodations tax.

(A) The revenue generated by the local accommodations tax must be used exclusively for the following purposes:

(1) tourism-related buildings including, but not limited to, civic centers, coliseums, and aquariums;

(2) tourism-related cultural, recreational, or historic facilities;

(3) beach access, renourishment, or other tourism-related lands and water access;

(4) highways, roads, streets, and bridges providing access to tourist destinations;

(5) advertisements and promotions related to tourism development; or

(6) water and sewer infrastructure to serve tourism-related demand.

(B) In a county in which at least nine hundred thousand dollars in accommodations taxes is collected annually pursuant to Section 12-36-920, the revenues of the local accommodations tax authorized in this article may also be used for the operation and maintenance of those items provided in (A)(1) through (6) including police, fire protection, emergency medical services, and emergency-preparedness operations directly attendant to those facilities.

SECTION 6-1-540. Cumulative rate of local accommodations tax.

The cumulative rate of county and municipal local accommodations taxes for any portion of the county area may not exceed three percent, unless the cumulative total of such taxes were in excess of three percent prior to December 31, 1996, in which case the cumulative rate may not exceed the rate that was imposed as of December 31, 1996.

SECTION 6-1-550. Local accommodations tax revenue upon annexation.

In an area of the county where the county has imposed a local accommodations tax that is annexed by a municipality, the municipality must receive only that portion of the revenue generated in excess of the county local accommodations tax revenue for the previous twelve months in the area annexed.

SECTION 6-1-560. Real estate agents required to report when rental property listing dropped.

Real estate agents, brokers, corporations, or listing services required to remit taxes under this section must notify the appropriate local governmental entity or entities if rental property, previously listed by them, is dropped from their listings.

SECTION 6-1-570. Remitting tax to local governing body; frequency determined by estimated average amounts.

The tax provided for in this article must be remitted to the local governing body on a monthly basis when the estimated amount of average tax is more than fifty dollars a month, on a quarterly basis when the estimated amount of average tax is twenty-five dollars to fifty dollars a month, and on an annual basis when the estimated amount of average tax is less than twenty-five dollars a month.

ARTICLE 7.

LOCAL HOSPITALITY TAX

SECTION 6-1-700. Short title.

This article may be cited as the "Local Hospitality Tax Act".

SECTION 6-1-710. Definitions.

As used in the article:

(1) "Local governing body" means the governing body of a county or municipality.

(2) "Local hospitality tax" is a tax on the sales of prepared meals and beverages sold in establishments or sales of prepared meals and beverages sold in establishments licensed for on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages, beer, or wine.

(3) "Positive majority" means a vote for adoption by the majority of the members of the entire governing body, whether present or not. However, if there is a vacancy in the membership of the governing body, a positive majority vote of the entire governing body as constituted on the date of the final vote on the imposition is required.

SECTION 6-1-720. Imposition of local hospitality tax.

(A) A local governing body may impose, by ordinance, a local hospitality tax not to exceed two percent of the charges for food and beverages. However, an ordinance imposing the local hospitality tax must be adopted by a positive majority vote. The governing body of a county may not impose a local hospitality tax in excess of one percent within the boundaries of a municipality without the consent, by resolution, of the appropriate municipal governing body.

(B) All proceeds from a local hospitality tax must be kept in a separate fund segregated from the imposing entity's general fund. All interest generated by the local hospitality tax fund must be credited to the local hospitality tax fund.

SECTION 6-1-730. Use of revenue from local hospitality tax.

(A) The revenue generated by the hospitality tax must be used exclusively for the following purposes:

(1) tourism-related buildings including, but not limited to, civic centers, coliseums, and aquariums;

(2) tourism-related cultural, recreational, or historic facilities;

(3) beach access and renourishment;

(4) highways, roads, streets, and bridges providing access to tourist destinations;

(5) advertisements and promotions related to tourism development; or

(6) water and sewer infrastructure to serve tourism-related demand.

(B) In a county in which at least nine hundred thousand dollars in accommodations taxes is collected annually pursuant to Section 12-36-920, the revenues of the hospitality tax authorized in this article may be used for the operation and maintenance of those items provided in (A)(1) through (6) including police, fire protection, emergency medical services, and emergency-preparedness operations directly attendant to those facilities.

SECTION 6-1-740. Cumulative rate of local hospitality tax.

The cumulative rate of county and municipal hospitality taxes for any portion of the county area may not exceed two percent, unless the cumulative total of such taxes was in excess of two percent or were authorized to be in excess of two percent prior to December 31, 1996, in which case the cumulative rate may not exceed the rate that was imposed or adopted as of December 31, 1996.

SECTION 6-1-750. Local hospitality tax revenue upon annexation.

In an area of the county where the county has imposed a local hospitality tax that is annexed by a municipality, the municipality must receive only that portion of the revenue generated in excess of the county local hospitality tax revenue for the previous twelve months in the area annexed.

SECTION 6-1-760. Ordinances prior to March 15, 1997; calculation; revenue.

Notwithstanding any provision of this article, any ordinance enacted by county or municipality prior to March 15, 1997, imposing an accommodations fee which does not exceed the three percent maximum cumulative rate prescribed in Section 6-1-540, is calculated upon a base consistent with Section 6-1-510(1), and the revenue from which is used for the purposes enumerated in Section 6-1-530, remains authorized and effective after the effective date of this section and the enacting county or municipality is authorized to issue bonds, pursuant to Article X, Section 14(10) of the Constitution of this State, utilizing the procedures of Section 4-29-68, for the purposes enumerated in Section 6-1-530, and to retire such debt using the proceeds of such an accommodations fee ordinance and the pledge of such other nontax revenues as may be available for those purposes.

SECTION 6-1-770. Remitting tax to local governing body; frequency determined by estimated average amounts.

The tax provided for in this article must be remitted to the local governing body on a monthly basis when the estimated amount of average tax is more than fifty dollars a month, on a quarterly basis when the estimated amount of average tax is twenty-five dollars to fifty dollars a month, and on an annual basis when the estimated amount of average tax is less than twenty-five dollars a month.

ARTICLE 9.

DEVELOPMENT IMPACT FEES

SECTION 6-1-910. Short title.

This article may be cited as the "South Carolina Development Impact Fee Act".

SECTION 6-1-920. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) "Affordable housing" means housing affordable to families whose incomes do not exceed eighty percent of the median income for the service area or areas within the jurisdiction of the governmental entity.

(2) "Capital improvements" means improvements with a useful life of five years or more, by new construction or other action, which increase or increased the service capacity of a public facility.

(3) "Capital improvements plan" means a plan that identifies capital improvements for which development impact fees may be used as a funding source.

(4) "Connection charges" and "hookup charges" mean charges for the actual cost of connecting a property to a public water or public sewer system, limited to labor and materials involved in making pipe connections, installation of water meters, and other actual costs.

(5) "Developer" means an individual or corporation, partnership, or other entity undertaking development.

(6) "Development" means construction or installation of a new building or structure, or a change in use of a building or structure, any of which creates additional demand and need for public facilities. A building or structure shall include, but not be limited to, modular buildings and manufactured housing. "Development" does not include alterations made to existing single-family homes.

(7) "Development approval" means a document from a governmental entity which authorizes the commencement of a development.

(8) "Development impact fee" or "impact fee" means a payment of money imposed as a condition of development approval to pay a proportionate share of the cost of system improvements needed to serve the people utilizing the improvements. The term does not include:

(a) a charge or fee to pay the administrative, plan review, or inspection costs associated with permits required for development;

(b) connection or hookup charges;

(c) amounts collected from a developer in a transaction in which the governmental entity has incurred expenses in constructing capital improvements for the development if the owner or developer has agreed to be financially responsible for the construction or installation of the capital improvements;

(d) fees authorized by Article 3 of this chapter.

(9) "Development permit" means a permit issued for construction on or development of land when no subsequent building permit issued pursuant to Chapter 9 of Title 6 is required.

(10) "Fee payor" means the individual or legal entity that pays or is required to pay a development impact fee.

(11) "Governmental entity" means a county, as provided in Chapter 9, Title 4, and a municipality, as defined in Section 5-1-20.

(12) "Incidental benefits" are benefits which accrue to a property as a secondary result or as a minor consequence of the provision of public facilities to another property.

(13) "Land use assumptions" means a description of the service area and projections of land uses, densities, intensities, and population in the service area over at least a ten-year period.

(14) "Level of service" means a measure of the relationship between service capacity and service demand for public facilities.

(15) "Local planning commission" means the entity created pursuant to Article 1, Chapter 29, Title 6.

(16) "Project" means a particular development on an identified parcel of land.

(17) "Proportionate share" means that portion of the cost of system improvements determined pursuant to Section 6-1-990 which reasonably relates to the service demands and needs of the project.

(18) "Public facilities" means:

(a) water supply production, treatment, laboratory, engineering, administration, storage, and transmission facilities;

(b) wastewater collection, treatment, laboratory, engineering, administration, and disposal facilities;

(c) solid waste and recycling collection, treatment, and disposal facilities;

(d) roads, streets, and bridges including, but not limited to, rights-of-way and traffic signals;

(e) storm water transmission, retention, detention, treatment, and disposal facilities and flood control facilities;

(f) public safety facilities, including law enforcement, fire, emergency medical and rescue, and street lighting facilities;

(g) capital equipment and vehicles, with an individual unit purchase price of not less than one hundred thousand dollars including, but not limited to, equipment and vehicles used in the delivery of public safety services, emergency preparedness services, collection and disposal of solid waste, and storm water management and control;

(h) parks, libraries, and recreational facilities.

(19) "Service area" means, based on sound planning or engineering principles, or both, a defined geographic area in which specific public facilities provide service to development within the area defined. Provided, however, that no provision in this article may be interpreted to alter, enlarge, or reduce the service area or boundaries of a political subdivision which is authorized or set by law.

(20) "Service unit" means a standardized measure of consumption, use, generation, or discharge attributable to an individual unit of development calculated in accordance with generally accepted engineering or planning standards for a particular category of capital improvements.

(21) "System improvements" means capital improvements to public facilities which are designed to provide service to a service area.

(22) "System improvement costs" means costs incurred for construction or reconstruction of system improvements, including design, acquisition, engineering, and other costs attributable to the improvements, and also including the costs of providing additional public facilities needed to serve new growth and development. System improvement costs do not include:

(a) construction, acquisition, or expansion of public facilities other than capital improvements identified in the capital improvements plan;

(b) repair, operation, or maintenance of existing or new capital improvements;

(c) upgrading, updating, expanding, or replacing existing capital improvements to serve existing development in order to meet stricter safety, efficiency, environmental, or regulatory standards;

(d) upgrading, updating, expanding, or replacing existing capital improvements to provide better service to existing development;

(e) administrative and operating costs of the governmental entity; or

(f) principal payments and interest or other finance charges on bonds or other indebtedness except financial obligations issued by or on behalf of the governmental entity to finance capital improvements identified in the capital improvements plan.

SECTION 6-1-930. Developmental impact fee.

(A)(1) Only a governmental entity that has a comprehensive plan, as provided in Chapter 29 of this title, and which complies with the requirements of this article may impose a development impact fee. If a governmental entity has not adopted a comprehensive plan, but has adopted a capital improvements plan which substantially complies with the requirements of Section 6-1-960(B), then it may impose a development impact fee. A governmental entity may not impose an impact fee, regardless of how it is designated, except as provided in this article. However, a special purpose district or public service district which (a) provides fire protection services or recreation services, (b) was created by act of the General Assembly prior to 1973, and (c) had the power to impose development impact fees prior to the effective date of this section is not prohibited from imposing development impact fees.

(2) Before imposing a development impact fee on residential units, a governmental entity shall prepare a report which estimates the effect of recovering capital costs through impact fees on the availability of affordable housing within the political jurisdiction of the governmental entity.

(B)(1) An impact fee may be imposed and collected by the governmental entity only upon the passage of an ordinance approved by a positive majority, as defined in Article 3 of this chapter.

(2) The amount of the development impact fee must be based on actual improvement costs or reasonable estimates of the costs, supported by sound engineering studies.

(3) An ordinance authorizing the imposition of a development impact fee must:

(a) establish a procedure for timely processing of applications for determinations by the governmental entity of development impact fees applicable to all property subject to impact fees and for the timely processing of applications for individual assessment of development impact fees, credits, or reimbursements allowed or paid under this article;

(b) include a description of acceptable levels of service for system improvements; and

(c) provide for the termination of the impact fee.

(C) A governmental entity shall prepare and publish an annual report describing the amount of all impact fees collected, appropriated, or spent during the preceding year by category of public facility and service area.

(D) Payment of an impact fee may result in an incidental benefit to property owners or developers within the service area other than the fee payor, except that an impact fee that results in benefits to property owners or developers within the service area, other than the fee payor, in an amount which is greater than incidental benefits is prohibited.

SECTION 6-1-940. Amount of impact fee.

A governmental entity imposing an impact fee must provide in the impact fee ordinance the amount of impact fee due for each unit of development in a project for which an individual building permit or certificate of occupancy is issued. The governmental entity is bound by the amount of impact fee specified in the ordinance and may not charge higher or additional impact fees for the same purpose unless the number of service units increases or the scope of the development changes and the amount of additional impact fees is limited to the amount attributable to the additional service units or change in scope of the development. The impact fee ordinance must:

(1) include an explanation of the calculation of the impact fee, including an explanation of the factors considered pursuant to this article;

(2) specify the system improvements for which the impact fee is intended to be used;

(3) inform the developer that he may pay a project's proportionate share of system improvement costs by payment of impact fees according to the fee schedule as full and complete payment of the developer's proportionate share of system improvements costs;

(4) inform the fee payor that:

(a) he may negotiate and contract for facilities or services with the governmental entity in lieu of the development impact fee as defined in Section 6-1-1050;

(b) he has the right of appeal, as provided in Section 6-1-1030;

(c) the impact fee must be paid no earlier than the time of issuance of the building permit or issuance of a development permit if no building permit is required.

SECTION 6-1-950. Procedure for adoption of ordinance imposing impact fees.

(A) The governing body of a governmental entity begins the process for adoption of an ordinance imposing an impact fee by enacting a resolution directing the local planning commission to conduct the studies and to recommend an impact fee ordinance, developed in accordance with the requirements of this article. Under no circumstances may the governing body of a governmental entity impose an impact fee for any public facility which has been paid for entirely by the developer.

(B) Upon receipt of the resolution enacted pursuant to subsection (A), the local planning commission shall develop, within the time designated in the resolution, and make recommendations to the governmental entity for a capital improvements plan and impact fees by service unit. The local planning commission shall prepare and adopt its recommendations in the same manner and using the same procedures as those used for developing recommendations for a comprehensive plan as provided in Article 3, Chapter 29, Title 6, except as otherwise provided in this article. The commission shall review and update the capital improvements plan and impact fees in the same manner and on the same review cycle as the governmental entity's comprehensive plan or elements of it.

SECTION 6-1-960. Recommended capital improvements plan; notice; contents of plan.

(A) The local planning commission shall recommend to the governmental entity a capital improvements plan which may be adopted by the governmental entity by ordinance. The recommendations of the commission are not binding on the governmental entity, which may amend or alter the plan. After reasonable public notice, a public hearing must be held before final action to adopt the ordinance approving the capital improvements plan. The notice must be published not less than thirty days before the time of the hearing in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county. The notice must advise the public of the time and place of the hearing, that a copy of the capital improvements plan is available for public inspection in the offices of the governmental entity, and that members of the public will be given an opportunity to be heard.

(B) The capital improvements plan must contain:

(1) a general description of all existing public facilities, and their existing deficiencies, within the service area or areas of the governmental entity, a reasonable estimate of all costs, and a plan to develop the funding resources, including existing sources of revenues, related to curing the existing deficiencies including, but not limited to, the upgrading, updating, improving, expanding, or replacing of these facilities to meet existing needs and usage;

(2) an analysis of the total capacity, the level of current usage, and commitments for usage of capacity of existing public facilities, which must be prepared by a qualified professional using generally accepted principles and professional standards;

(3) a description of the land use assumptions;

(4) a definitive table establishing the specific service unit for each category of system improvements and an equivalency or conversion table establishing the ratio of a service unit to various types of land uses, including residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial, as appropriate;

(5) a description of all system improvements and their costs necessitated by and attributable to new development in the service area, based on the approved land use assumptions, to provide a level of service not to exceed the level of service currently existing in the community or service area, unless a different or higher level of service is required by law, court order, or safety consideration;

(6) the total number of service units necessitated by and attributable to new development within the service area based on the land use assumptions and calculated in accordance with generally accepted engineering or planning criteria;

(7) the projected demand for system improvements required by new service units projected over a reasonable period of time not to exceed twenty years;

(8) identification of all sources and levels of funding available to the governmental entity for the financing of the system improvements; and

(9) a schedule setting forth estimated dates for commencing and completing construction of all improvements identified in the capital improvements plan.

(C) Changes in the capital improvements plan must be approved in the same manner as approval of the original plan.

SECTION 6-1-970. Exemptions from impact fees.

The following structures or activities are exempt from impact fees:

(1) rebuilding the same amount of floor space of a structure that was destroyed by fire or other catastrophe;

(2) remodeling or repairing a structure that does not result in an increase in the number of service units;

(3) replacing a residential unit, including a manufactured home, with another residential unit on the same lot, if the number of service units does not increase;

(4) placing a construction trailer or office on a lot during the period of construction on the lot;

(5) constructing an addition on a residential structure which does not increase the number of service units;

(6) adding uses that are typically accessory to residential uses, such as a tennis court or a clubhouse, unless it is demonstrated clearly that the use creates a significant impact on the system's capacity; and

(7) all or part of a particular development project if:

(a) the project is determined to create affordable housing; and

(b) the exempt development's proportionate share of system improvements is funded through a revenue source other than development impact fees.

SECTION 6-1-980. Calculation of impact fees.

(A) The impact fee for each service unit may not exceed the amount determined by dividing the costs of the capital improvements by the total number of projected service units that potentially could use the capital improvement. If the number of new service units projected over a reasonable period of time is less than the total number of new service units shown by the approved land use assumptions at full development of the service area, the maximum impact fee for each service unit must be calculated by dividing the costs of the part of the capital improvements necessitated by and attributable to the projected new service units by the total projected new service units.

(B) An impact fee must be calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

SECTION 6-1-990. Maximum impact fee; proportionate share of costs of improvements to serve new development.

(A) The impact fee imposed upon a fee payor may not exceed a proportionate share of the costs incurred by the governmental entity in providing system improvements to serve the new development. The proportionate share is the cost attributable to the development after the governmental entity reduces the amount to be imposed by the following factors:

(1) appropriate credit, offset, or contribution of money, dedication of land, or construction of system improvements; and

(2) all other sources of funding the system improvements including funds obtained from economic development incentives or grants secured which are not required to be repaid.

(B) In determining the proportionate share of the cost of system improvements to be paid, the governmental entity imposing the impact fee must consider the:

(1) cost of existing system improvements resulting from new development within the service area or areas;

(2) means by which existing system improvements have been financed;

(3) extent to which the new development contributes to the cost of system improvements;

(4) extent to which the new development is required to contribute to the cost of existing system improvements in the future;

(5) extent to which the new development is required to provide system improvements, without charge to other properties within the service area or areas;

(6) time and price differentials inherent in a fair comparison of fees paid at different times; and

(7) availability of other sources of funding system improvements including, but not limited to, user charges, general tax levies, intergovernmental transfers, and special taxation.

SECTION 6-1-1000. Fair compensation or reimbursement of developers for costs, dedication of land or oversize facilities.

A developer required to pay a development impact fee may not be required to pay more than his proportionate share of the costs of the project, including the payment of money or contribution or dedication of land, or to oversize his facilities for use of others outside of the project without fair compensation or reimbursement.

SECTION 6-1-1010. Accounting; expenditures.

(A) Revenues from all development impact fees must be maintained in one or more interest-bearing accounts. Accounting records must be maintained for each category of system improvements and the service area in which the fees are collected. Interest earned on development impact fees must be considered funds of the account on which it is earned, and must be subject to all restrictions placed on the use of impact fees pursuant to the provisions of this article.

(B) Expenditures of development impact fees must be made only for the category of system improvements and within or for the benefit of the service area for which the impact fee was imposed as shown by the capital improvements plan and as authorized in this article. Impact fees may not be used for:

(1) a purpose other than system improvement costs to create additional improvements to serve new growth;

(2) a category of system improvements other than that for which they were collected; or

(3) the benefit of service areas other than the area for which they were imposed.

SECTION 6-1-1020. Refunds of impact fees.

(A) An impact fee must be refunded to the owner of record of property on which a development impact fee has been paid if:

(1) the impact fees have not been expended within three years of the date they were scheduled to be expended on a first-in, first-out basis; or

(2) a building permit or permit for installation of a manufactured home is denied.

(B) When the right to a refund exists, the governmental entity shall send a refund to the owner of record within ninety days after it is determined by the entity that a refund is due.

(C) A refund must include the pro rata portion of interest earned while on deposit in the impact fee account.

(D) A person entitled to a refund has standing to sue for a refund pursuant to this article if there has not been a timely payment of a refund pursuant to subsection (B) of this section.

SECTION 6-1-1030. Appeals.

(A) A governmental entity which adopts a development impact fee ordinance shall provide for administrative appeals by the developer or fee payor.

(B) A fee payor may pay a development impact fee under protest. A fee payor making the payment is not estopped from exercising the right of appeal provided in this article, nor is the fee payor estopped from receiving a refund of an amount considered to have been illegally collected. Instead of making a payment of an impact fee under protest, a fee payor, at his option, may post a bond or submit an irrevocable letter of credit for the amount of impact fees due, pending the outcome of an appeal.

(C) A governmental entity which adopts a development impact fee ordinance shall provide for mediation by a qualified independent party, upon voluntary agreement by both the fee payor and the governmental entity, to address a disagreement related to the impact fee for proposed development. Participation in mediation does not preclude the fee payor from pursuing other remedies provided for in this section or otherwise available by law.

SECTION 6-1-1040. Collection of development impact fees.

A governmental entity may provide in a development impact fee ordinance the method for collection of development impact fees including, but not limited to:

(1) additions to the fee for reasonable interest and penalties for nonpayment or late payment;

(2) withholding of the certificate of occupancy, or building permit if no certificate of occupancy is required, until the development impact fee is paid;

(3) withholding of utility services until the development impact fee is paid; and

(4) imposing liens for failure to pay timely a development impact fee.

SECTION 6-1-1050. Permissible agreements for payments or construction or installation of improvements by fee payors and developers; credits and reimbursements.

A fee payor and developer may enter into an agreement with a governmental entity, including an agreement entered into pursuant to the South Carolina Local Government Development Agreement Act, providing for payments instead of impact fees for facilities or services. That agreement may provide for the construction or installation of system improvements by the fee payor or developer and for credits or reimbursements for costs incurred by a fee payor or developer including interproject transfers of credits or reimbursement for project improvements which are used or shared by more than one development project. An impact fee may not be imposed on a fee payor or developer who has entered into an agreement as described in this section.

SECTION 6-1-1060. Article shall not affect existing laws.

(A) The provisions of this article do not repeal existing laws authorizing a governmental entity to impose fees or require contributions or property dedications for capital improvements. A development impact fee adopted in accordance with existing laws before the enactment of this article is not affected until termination of the development impact fee. A subsequent change or reenactment of the development impact fee must comply with the provisions of this article. Requirements for developers to pay in whole or in part for system improvements may be imposed by governmental entities only by way of impact fees imposed pursuant to the ordinance.

(B) Notwithstanding another provision of this article, property for which a valid building permit or certificate of occupancy has been issued or construction has commenced before the effective date of a development impact fee ordinance is not subject to additional development impact fees.

SECTION 6-1-1070. Shared funding among units of government; agreements.

(A) If the proposed system improvements include the improvement of public facilities under the jurisdiction of another unit of government including, but not limited to, a special purpose district that does not provide water and wastewater utilities, a school district, and a public service district, an agreement between the governmental entity and other unit of government must specify the reasonable share of funding by each unit. The governmental entity authorized to impose impact fees may not assume more than its reasonable share of funding joint improvements, nor may another unit of government which is not authorized to impose impact fees do so unless the expenditure is pursuant to an agreement under Section 6-1-1050 of this section.

(B) A governmental entity may enter into an agreement with another unit of government including, but not limited to, a special purpose district that does not provide water and wastewater utilities, a school district, and a public service district, that has the responsibility of providing the service for which an impact fee may be imposed. The determination of the amount of the impact fee for the contracting governmental entity must be made in the same manner and is subject to the same procedures and limitations as provided in this article. The agreement must provide for the collection of the impact fee by the governmental entity and for the expenditure of the impact fee by another unit of government including, but not limited to, a special purpose district that does not provide water and wastewater utilities, a school district, and a public services district unless otherwise provided by contract.

SECTION 6-1-1080. Exemptions; water or wastewater utilities.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to a development impact fee for water or wastewater utilities, or both, imposed by a city, county, commissioners of public works, special purpose district, or nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to Chapter 35 or 36 of Title 33, except that in order to impose a development impact fee for water or wastewater utilities, or both, the city, county, commissioners of public works, special purpose district or nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to Chapter 35 or 36 of Title 33 must:

(1) have a capital improvements plan before imposition of the development impact fee; and

(2) prepare a report to be made public before imposition of the development impact fee, which shall include, but not be limited to, an explanation of the basis, use, calculation, and method of collection of the development impact fee; and

(3) enact the fee in accordance with the requirements of Article 3 of this chapter.

SECTION 6-1-1090. Annexations by municipalities.

A county development impact fee ordinance imposed in an area which is annexed by a municipality is not affected by this article until the development impact fee terminates, unless the municipality assumes any liability which is to be paid with the impact fee revenue.

SECTION 6-1-2000. Taxation or revenue authority by political subdivisions.

This article shall not create, grant, or confer any new or additional taxing or revenue raising authority to a political subdivision which was not specifically granted to that entity by a previous act of the General Assembly.

SECTION 6-1-2010. Compliance with public notice or public hearing requirements.

Compliance with any requirement for public notice or public hearing in this article is considered to be in compliance with any other public notice or public hearing requirement otherwise applicable including, but not limited to, the provisions of Chapter 4, Title 30, and Article 3 of this chapter.





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