South Carolina General Assembly
117th Session, 2007-2008

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Bill 5144

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

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May 28, 2008

H. 5144

Introduced by Rep. Clemmons

S. Printed 5/28/08--H.

Read the first time May 13, 2008.



To whom was referred a Bill (H. 5144) to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Article 11 to Chapter 11 of Title 55 so as to establish the Grand Strand Airport District, define, etc., respectfully


That they have duly and carefully considered the same and recommend that the same do pass:

ALAN D. CLEMMONS for Committee.




Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Chapter 11, Title 55 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Article 11

Grand Strand Airport District

Section 55-11-900.    The General Assembly finds that: (1) the public interest may be served by the establishment of a Grand Strand Airport District with modern air transport facilities capable of providing service for all modern air transport; (2) the operation of an airport district is not a function exclusive to counties; (3) particular airport districts have traditionally been established and codified in Chapter 11 of Title 55; (4) the Grand Strand Airport District established by this article is a separate and distinct entity with powers and duties to serve the people of the district and the public generally; and (5) because the General Assembly is mandated by Article XII, Section 1 of the South Carolina Constitution to provide for appropriate agencies to function in the areas of health, welfare, and safety of the lives and property of the people in this State, and to determine the activities, powers, and duties of such agencies, the establishment of the Grand Strand Airport District is a traditional state function requiring legislative action by the General Assembly.

Section 55-11-910.    The territory embraced by the Grand Strand area is hereby constituted an airport district and a political subdivision of this State, the functions of which are public and governmental, and the inhabitants of the territory are constituted a body politic and corporate. The corporate name of the airport district is Grand Strand Airport District, and by that name the airport district may sue and be sued.

Section 55-11-920.    The corporate powers and duties of the Grand Strand Airport District must be exercised and performed by a commission to be known as Grand Strand Airport Commission. The commission is composed of the following ten members: one member appointed by the Governor who shall serve as chairman of the commission; three members appointed by a majority of the members of the Horry County Legislative Delegation; three members appointed by a majority of the members of the City Council of the City of Myrtle Beach; and three members appointed by a majority of the members of the County Council of the County of Horry. The members of the commission shall serve for terms of four years. When a member completes a term on the commission, he may not serve another term without a four-year break in service. In the event of a vacancy for any reason, other than the expiration of a term, a successor must be appointed in the same manner of the original appointment for the balance of the unexpired term. Any member may be removed by the appointing authority for neglect of duty, misconduct, or malfeasance in office after being given a written statement of reasons and an opportunity to be heard. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, except for their actual and necessary expenses while in performance of duties prescribed under this article. Members of the commission must have a proven record of public and community service and experience in the fields of business and aviation. Additionally, each member must possess at least two of the following qualifications:

(1)    general and or commercial aviation experience;

(2)    aviation service provider experience;

(3)    airport fixed based operator (FBO) management experience;

(4)    previous service as a state or regional airport commissioner;

(5)    legal experience;

(6)    active involvement in a recognized aviation association; or

(7)    airport management.

Section 55-11-930.    The commission shall elect one of its members as vice chairman and one of its members, or any other competent person, as secretary of the commission. In the event that the office of chairman becomes vacant, the duties of the chairman must be temporarily performed by the vice chairman, but the Governor must appoint a successor to the chairman as expeditiously as possible. Serving as a commission member is an office of honor within the meaning of the provision of Section 1A of Article 17 of the Constitution of South Carolina. The secretary of the commission, if not a member of the commission, shall have a term as fixed by the commission.

Section 55-11-940.    There are hereby committed to the commission the functions of planning, establishing, developing, constructing, enlarging, improving, maintaining, equipping, operating, regulating, protecting, and policing the airports and air navigation facilities that are necessary to serve the people of the Grand Strand Airport District and the public generally. To this end, the commission is empowered to:

(1)    have and enjoy perpetual succession;

(2)    adopt, use, and alter a corporate seal;

(3)    make bylaws for the management and regulation of its affairs, and to define a quorum for its meetings, which shall require the presence of at least four members. Adequate notification of all meetings and the time and place must be given to each member;

(4)    plan, establish, develop, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate, regulate, protect, and police its airports and air navigation facilities under reasonable rules and regulations that the commission may from time to time adopt and promulgate;

(5)    maintain and extend runways, terminals, maintenance shops, access roads, utilities systems, concessions, and accommodations, and to own and maintain within the district postal facilities and other facilities for the comfort and accommodation of air travelers and air freight;

(6)    purchase and sell supplies, goods, and commodities as an incident to the operation of its airport facilities, and for all those purposes, the commission may, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, eminent domain proceedings, or otherwise, acquire, hold, develop, use, lease, mortgage, sell, transfer, and dispose of any property, real or personal, or any interest in it, including easements in or over land needed to prevent airport hazards, or land outside the boundaries of its airports and air navigation facilities necessary to permit the removal, elimination, obstruction-marking, or obstruction-lighting of airport hazards, or to prevent the establishment of airport hazards;

(7)    license, lease, rent, sell, or otherwise provide for the use of any of its airport facilities, and facilities auxiliary to them, including the privilege of supplying goods, commodities, things, services, or facilities at an airport by itself or by any qualified persons or corporations on terms and conditions as its discretion may dictate. However, in no case shall the public be deprived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use of its airports and air navigation facilities;

(8)    restrict the height of any building, structure, or obstruction, including, but not limited to, towers, dwellings, trees, or any other object which might constitute a hazard to air transportation at its facilities within the district. The commission may by regulation restrict the construction or erection of any building, structure, or obstruction on lands located on the projection of any runways of its airport facilities at a height above a glide angle for aircraft of fifty feet to one foot measured outward from the boundaries of the end of any runway at an airport, for a distance of up to ten thousand feet along a prolongation of the center line of any runway and extending laterally from the projection of the center lines of any runway from a distance of one thousand feet each way at the airport boundary, increasing to a lateral distance of four thousand feet each way from the center of any runway at a distance of ten thousand feet from the boundary of an airport.

It also may by regulation restrict the erection of any building or other type construction of any nature whatsoever on lands adjacent to its air transport facilities at any point adjacent to them, not covered by this item, at a height above a glide angle for aircraft of fifteen feet to one foot, measured outward from the boundaries of any air facilities for a distance of twenty-five hundred feet.

The commission, if it promulgates regulations prohibiting such construction, shall conduct a public hearing prior to taking action of its own. Notice of a public meeting must be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the district not less than seven days prior to the occasion fixed for the holding of the meeting. The notice shall state the time and place of the meeting and shall briefly indicate the scope of the proposed regulation. At the public meeting, all persons affected by the proposed regulation are entitled to appear and to be heard. If, following the meeting, the regulation restricting the erection of any buildings or structures as described in this item is adopted, notice of the adoption of the regulation must be given by filing a certified copy of it in the office of the clerk of court for Horry County and additional copies must be posted in the Courthouse for Horry County and in at least two public places within the district. A notice of the adoption of the regulations must be published at least once during each of three successive weeks in a newspaper published in and having general circulation in the district. The regulations become effective only after the foregoing has been done.

The commission is authorized to apply to any court of general jurisdiction within the district for the enforcement of the regulations through the means of mandatory injunctions and other remedial proceedings. The courts also are specifically empowered to render mandatory injunctions and other remedial orders as shall appear to the courts to be just and reasonable;

The provisions of this item are declared to be separable from the remaining provisions of this article and its inability shall not affect or extend to the remaining provisions of this article;

(9)    place in effect, and, from time to time, revise the schedules of licenses, rates, and charges for the use of its facilities as may be necessary or desirable to the orderly operation of its airport facilities. All licenses, rates, and charges must be reasonable and nondiscriminatory. In addition, the provisions of this item must not be construed to be in conflict with the provisions of item (7) which authorize the leasing of land and buildings auxiliary to its airport facilities;

(10)    exercise the power of eminent domain for any corporate function. The power of eminent domain may be exercised through any procedure prescribed by Section 28-9-10 through Section 28-9-110. All powers conferred on municipalities under these provisions are conferred hereby on the Grand Strand Airport Commission;

(11)    appoint officers, agents, employees, and servants, and to prescribe the duties of them, including the right to appoint persons charged with the duty of enforcing the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this article, to fix their compensation, and to determine if, and to what extent, they must be bonded for the faithful performance of their duties;

(12)    employ engineers, architects, and attorneys, and to contract for other services of a technical or professional nature as may be necessary or desirable to the performance of the duties of the commission;

(13)    make contracts for the construction, erection, maintenance, and repair of the facilities in its charge, by competitive bidding, after adequate notice of the invitation for bids has been given at a reasonable time, but no less than ten days, before the date bids are due, if the contracts are in excess of ten thousand dollars. However, if the contracts are less than ten thousand dollars, then the commission may enter into these contracts without competitive bids;

(14)    deposit monies derived from the sale of bonds authorized to be issued under the provisions of this article or from revenue-producing facilities in a bank or trust company having an office within the district, and to withdraw the same for the purpose of operating, maintaining, constructing, improving, and extending any facility in its charge;

(15)    apply for, accept, receive, disburse, and expend federal, state, county, or municipal monies and other monies, public or private, made available by grant or loan, or both;

(16)    accomplish, in whole or in part, any of the purposes of this article, and to this end, to continue to prosecute any application filed with the Federal Aviation Administration, or any other federal agency, and to pay from the funds of the district any costs incurred for any services rendered, since the date the application was filed, in connection with the procuring or processing of the application which is found by the commission to legitimately inure to the benefit of the Grand Strand Airport District. All federal monies accepted under this section must be accepted and expended by the commission upon terms and conditions that are prescribed by the United States, and are consistent with state law. All other monies accepted under this section must be accepted and expended by the commission upon terms and conditions prescribed by the State or other sources of the monies;

(17)    pay for any services rendered for the benefit of the district, which are found by the commission to legitimately inure to the benefit of the Grand Strand Airport District;

(18)    accept any donations of any property which includes, but is not limited to, the:

(a)    Grand Strand Commercial Terminal and its associated infrastructure;

(b)    Myrtle Beach General Aviation Terminal and its associated infrastructure;

(c)    Loris General Aviation Airport;

(d)    North Myrtle Beach General Aviation Airport;

(e)    Conway General Aviation Airport;

(f)    site of the former Magic Harbor Amusement Park which is used to support airport facilities; and

(g)    trust funds held for or used to make improvements to any of the facilities contained in this item.

The commission must assume all outstanding obligations attached to any properties that it receives pursuant to this item. If the donor has levied a fee, tax, or other revenue source to retire an obligation attached to a donated property, then once the transfer is completed, the fee, tax, or other revenue source must be terminated;

(19)    invest the funds or monies in its possession, eligible for investment, in the shares of any federal savings and loan association or in the shares of any building and loan association organized and existing under the laws of this State when shares are insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation;

(20)    issue under the conditions prescribed in item (22) of this section general obligation bonds of the district not to exceed the amount prescribed by law;

(21)    borrow on behalf of the district money and to make and issue negotiable bonds, notes, and other evidences of indebtedness payable solely from the revenue derived from the operation of any revenue-producing facility, or facilities, in its charge. The sums borrowed may be those needed to pay costs incident to the operation and maintenance of its airport facilities or sums of money as may be needed to pay the costs of any extension, addition, or improvement to its airport facilities, or both. If the method of financing authorized by this item is used, neither the faith and credit of the State of South Carolina, nor of any county lying within the district, nor of the district itself is pledged to the payment of the principal and interest of the obligations, and there must be on the face of the obligation a statement, plainly worded, to that effect. Neither the members of the commission nor any person signing the obligations is personally liable for them. The district is empowered to avail itself of all powers granted by Chapter 21 of Title 6 and Chapter 17 of Title 6. In exercising the powers conferred upon the district by those provisions, the district may make all pledges and covenants authorized by them and may confer upon the holders of its securities all rights and liens authorized by them. Specifically, and notwithstanding contrary provisions in any provisions of law, the district may:

(a)    provide that bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness is payable, both as to principal and interest, from the net revenues derived from the operation of any revenue-producing facility or facilities, as these net revenues may be defined by the commission;

(b)    covenant and agree that upon its being adjudged in default as to the payment of any installment of principal and interest upon any obligation issued by it or in default as to the performance of any covenant or undertaking made by it, that in the event the principal of all obligations of the issue may be declared due and payable, notwithstanding that any of them may not have then matured;

(c)    confer upon a corporate trustee the power to make disposition of the proceeds from all borrowings and also all revenues derived from the operation of the revenue-producing facility whose revenues are pledged for the payment of the obligations, in accordance with and in the order of priority prescribed by resolutions adopted by the commission as an incident to the issuance of any notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness;

(d)    dispose of its obligations at public or private sale and upon terms and conditions that it shall approve;

(e)    make provision for the redemption of any obligations issued by it prior to their stated maturity, with or without a premium, and on terms and conditions as the commission shall approve;

(f)    covenant and agree that any cushion fund established to further secure the payment of principal and interest of any obligation is in a fixed amount;

(g)    covenant and agree that it will not enter into any agreements with any person, firm, corporation, or with the government of this State, the United States, or any of the political subdivisions of them for the furnishing of free services where the services are ordinarily rendered for a fee;

(h)    prescribe the procedure, if any, by which the terms of the contract with the holders of its obligations may be amended, the number of obligations whose holders must consent to them, and the manner in which consent must be given;

(i)        prescribe the evidences of default and conditions upon which all or any obligation becomes or may be declared due before maturity and the terms and conditions upon which a declaration and its consequences may be waived;

(22)    issue general obligation bonds of the district not to exceed the amount prescribed by law, whose proceeds must be used to defray the cost of constructing and establishing suitable airport facilities within the district. For the purpose of this section, the term 'construct and establish' embraces the cost of direct construction, the cost of all land, property, rights, easements, and franchises acquired which are necessary for the construction and use of runways, terminal buildings, maintenance shops, freight depots, service establishments, and all facilities incident, or appurtenant to an airport facility, and all machinery and equipment needed for this purpose, payments to contractors, laborers, or others for work done or material furnished, financing charges, interest incurred in connection with, interest on the bonds authorized, cost of engineering services, architectural services, legal services, legal and engineering expenses, plans, specifications, surveys, projections, drawings, brochures, administrative expenses and other expenses as may be necessary or incident to the construction and operation of an airport facility within the district incurred for the purposes for which the district is created. General obligation bonds issued pursuant to this item shall conform to the following specifications and are subject to the following procedures:

(a)    they must be issued as a single issue, or from time to time as several separate issues. They shall bear a date or dates as the commission determines, and bonds of any issue shall mature in equal or unequal installments as determined by the commission. They must be made payable at a place or places as the commission prescribes, and they shall bear interest at a rate or rates, and are payable in the manner as the commission may determine. The bonds may be issued with the privilege of having them registered as to principal on the books of the commission and the principal made payable to the registered holder unless the last registered transfer shall have been to the bearer, upon conditions as the commission may prescribe. A bond issued pursuant to this item may be made subject to redemption prior to its stated maturity, on terms and conditions and with a redemption premium as the commission prescribes;

(b)    they must be sold at not less than par and accrued interest to the date of their respective deliveries at public sale. At least ten days before a sale, notice announcing the intention to receive bids for sale of bonds must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the State. In offering the bonds for sale, the commission shall reserve the right to reject any and all bids. If all bids are rejected, the commission may negotiate privately for the disposition of the bonds;

(c)    the bonds and all interest to become due on them shall have the tax exempt status prescribed by Section 12-1-60;

(d)    all general obligation bonds issued pursuant to this article must be manually signed by the chairman of the commission. The seal of the district must be affixed to, impressed, or reproduced upon each bond, and each bond must be attested by the secretary of the commission. The coupons attached to the bonds must be authenticated by a facsimile of the signatures of the chairman and the secretary of the commission, who must be in office on the date of the adoption of the resolution of the commission authorizing the bonds;

(e)    the delivery of any bonds executed and authenticated are valid notwithstanding any changes in officers or seal occurring after their execution and authentication;

(f)    there is irrevocably pledged for the payment of the bonds and interest as they mature the full faith, credit, and resources of the district. Until the principal and interest of all bonds issued under this article are fully paid, there is levied on all taxable property in the district an annual tax ad valorem sufficient to pay the principal and interest of all bonds issued under this article as the principal and interest becomes due. The tax must be annually levied by the Comptroller General of South Carolina and collected by the county treasurer of Horry County at the same time and in the same manner as county taxes are collected. The Horry County treasurer shall collect the tax in his county and pay it to the State Treasurer in the manner and within the time provided by law for the payment of state taxes to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall set the tax apart in a special fund and apply it solely to the payment of principal and interest of the bonds so long as any of the principal or interest remains outstanding. The tax to be levied under the provisions of this item must not be substantially greater than the amount necessary to pay principal and interest of bonds maturing during the year in which monies produced by the levy come into the hands of the State Treasurer, as reduced by the anticipated balance of funds actually in the hands of the State Treasurer, on the occasion when it becomes necessary to fix the tax levy, produced by: (i) additional collections from the levies made in prior years; or (ii) net revenues derived by the commission from the operation of its facilities not required to meet costs of operating, maintaining, enlarging, and improving its facilities, or to discharge covenants securing bonds issued pursuant to item (21). When all principal and interest of outstanding bonds have been paid, the State Treasurer shall transfer any balance remaining in the special fund created under the terms of this item to the general fund of the commission subject to its draft or order for any legitimate purpose incident to the operation, maintenance, or extension of the district's airport facilities;

(g)    the proceeds derived from the sale of bonds must be deposited with the Treasurer of the State of South Carolina in a separate and special fund and are subject to transfer, upon warrants or orders of the commission, to any bank or trust company having an office within the district, to be expended by the commission for the purposes specified in it. However, any premium received must be deposited with the Treasurer of the State of South Carolina and applied by him to the first installment of principal becoming due on the bonds, and any accrued interest received must be applied by the State Treasurer to the first installment of interest becoming due on the bonds. Pending these withdrawals, the Treasurer of South Carolina, upon the request of the commission, is empowered to invest and reinvest the proceeds derived from the sale of the bonds in direct general obligations of the United States of America having a maturity of not more than one year from the date as of which the investment is made. Income derived from these investments must be applied to the payment of any interest to accrue on the general obligation bonds of the district. Neither the purchaser of the bonds nor any subsequent holders of them is responsible for the proper application of the proceeds of sales; and

(23)    perform all other acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out any function or power committed or granted to the district.

Section 55-11-950.    (A)    The Grand Strand Airport Commission is authorized to adopt rules and promulgate regulations governing the use of roads, streets, and parking facilities upon the lands of the Grand Strand Airport Commission. These rules and regulations must not be in conflict with any state law and all state laws are declared to be applicable to the roads, streets, and parking facilities under the control of the commission.

(B)    The Grand Strand Airport Commission is authorized to employ police officers to be commissioned by the Governor who shall enforce all laws, rules, and regulations authorized in this article and shall have authority to issue summonses for violations of this article in the manner provided for South Carolina State Highway Patrolmen.

(C)    A person who violates any of the applicable laws within a magistrate's jurisdiction or any of the rules or regulations of the commission must be tried by magistrates having jurisdiction over the area in which the violation occurred.

(D)    A person who violates the provisions of any of the rules and regulations of the commission is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days. All fines and forfeitures collected under the provisions of this article must be forwarded weekly to the Grand Strand Airport Commission by the enforcing magistrate, to be credited to the general operating fund of the district.

(E)    Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any public road, street, or highway located in the Grand Strand Airport District that is contiguous to or intersects the corporate limits of a municipality is within the police jurisdiction of that municipality. Summonses issued by municipal police officers in the jurisdiction authorized pursuant to this subsection must be tried in municipal court, and all fines and forfeitures collected under the provisions of this subsection may be retained by the enforcing municipality.

Section 55-11-960.    No property of the Grand Strand Airport District is a barrier to the contiguity requirements for the purposes of annexation. Any municipality that is contiguous to property owned by the district may annex, as provided by law, any property contiguous to the district.

Section 55-11-970.    All revenues derived by the commission from the operation of any revenue-producing facility which may not be required to operate, maintain, enlarge, and improve its airport facilities, or to pay obligations incurred in the issuance of any revenue bonds sold pursuant to the authorizations of Section 55-11-940(19), must be paid over to the State Treasurer, and held by him for the payment of interest and principal of general obligation bonds of the district.

Section 55-11-980.    The rates charged for services furnished by any revenue-producing facility of the district as constructed, improved, enlarged, or extended are not subject to supervision or regulation of any state bureau, commission, board, or other similar instrumentality or agency.

Section 55-11-990.    Property and income of the district is exempt from all taxes levied by the State, county, or any municipality, division, subdivision, or agency.

Section 55-11-1000.    So long as the district is indebted to a person, firm or corporation on bonds, notes, or other obligations issued pursuant to the authority of this article, provisions of this article and the powers granted to the district and the commission are not diminished and the provisions of this article are a part of the contract between the district and the holders of the obligations.

Section 55-11-1010.    The county council of Horry County and the city council of the city of Myrtle Beach are authorized and directed to make, execute and deliver a contract, each with the other, agreeing to pay to the Grand Strand Airport Commission, in equal amounts, the funds necessary to meet the annual operating deficit, if any, of the Grand Strand Airport Commission or to provide for the commission sufficient funds to prevent a deficit from arising by annual equal payments to the commission's anticipated budget.

Section 55-11-1020.    There must be provided in the annual act levying taxes for county purposes by Horry County, appropriations sufficient to carry out the provisions of Section 55-11-1010.

If the County of Horry should fail or refuse to make a contract, or if the contract is made and there is a default on it, and for this or any other reason the County of Horry fails to provide for the operating deficit, the Comptroller General of the State of South Carolina is authorized and directed to withhold from the monies to be received by the County of Horry, from the annual distribution made by the State of South Carolina to counties and municipalities from its receipts from the taxes levied by the State of South Carolina on alcoholic beverages, beer and wine, and on personal and corporate income an amount sufficient to pay such share or shares of the operating deficit.

Section 55-11-1030.    The provisions of this article do not prohibit the operation of any public or private airport located within the district by any other public agency or governmental authority, or by any private agency or person."

SECTION    2.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.


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