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Spartan

Spartanburg Consolidation

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It looks like talks between the City and the County have been over the possibility of consilidation. Here is the article from the Herald-Journal.

Spartanburg is the last place that I expected to discuss consolidation, but I am certainly in favor of it. The article says that Spartanburg County woudl be among the most difficult to consolidate because there are something like 380 or so special districts in the county that could opt out of annexation, and many people would have multiple votes... for example, the a resident in the city would have a vote to decide whether the city could join and weather the water district could join.

Cherokee's consolidation move fell apart. Greenville and Union have also tried- unsuccessfully.

So, this will be an interesting process to follow. The article also notes that other counties, while not successful, have been able to consolidate some services.

Of more interest to me is that the city and county are discussing a joint services building- joining City Hall, District 7, "county functions," and the Water System operations in one building. I have no idea what county functions means.

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It is going to be tough. Any idea how Athens and Jacksonville made it work?

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It is going to be tough. Any idea how Athens and Jacksonville made it work?

Initially the transition to consolidated government was pretty tough. However, almost everyone agrees it was the right thing to do. Jacksonville and most of Duval County consolidated way back in 1968!

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Well, somebody has to set a precedent in SC, so why not Spartanburg? I know Charleston has tried several times as well, to no avail. I don't think it's feasible for Columbia, since the city is located in two counties. Greenville has failed. So I think Spartanburg is a good choice. Even if this doesn't go through 100%, perhaps some duplication could be reduced in services.

380 special districts? Wow.

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Well, somebody has to set a precedent in SC, so why not Spartanburg? I know Charleston has tried several times as well, to no avail. I don't think it's feasible for Columbia, since the city is located in two counties. Greenville has failed. So I think Spartanburg is a good choice. Even if this doesn't go through 100%, perhaps some duplication could be reduced in services.

380 special districts? Wow.

If it failed in Greenville, it will fail in Spartanburg. That's the way things typically work in the Upstate.

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Unfortunately, I only see consolidation occurring if something catastrophic occurs to inspire it. Long-term loss of power, water, sewer, etc..

Lack of economic efficiency among governmental bodies theoretically should do it... but things would have to get much worse than they currently are.

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I know that Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet and County Councilman David Britt are big supporters of consolidation as are many Spartanburg residents. However, I don't see the political will to do this from other elected officials. Nobody wants to relinquish their turf for the good of the community.

Each of Spartanburg County's seven school districts have fought against consolidation for years. I don't see consolidation happening with the schools nor do I see it with the city and the county. I do see more cooperation and consolidation of some services but an outright consolidation like Jacksonville - not in my lifetime.

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I think it needs to be demonstrated to the average resident how consolidation will affect them where it matters most--the wallet. If you can get a swell of support among the local citizenry, that will go a long way.

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I don't think that it will fail in Spartanburg just because it did in Greenville. Greenville has its own mess going over there, and the situations are different in many ways. If it fails it will be because of Spartanburg not getting its act together, and nothing else.

Spartanburg has 380+ districts.

I expect that Spartanburg will not consolidate. It has been tried in many places around the state, and like it was said before, power and territory quickly come into play.

I expect, however, that Spartanburg will gain some consolidated services form this issue. I would like to see the water districts consolidate. The county has 8 water districts I think, and only SWS and SWJD have their own water resources. All of them buy water from SWS. This arrangement was done at a different time in Spartanburg, and they are no longer needed. The sewer systems are similar. There are maybe 4 districts, but they all dump into the same watersheds. The only one that I consider legitimately separate is Greer. Fire, police, ems, etc. all need to be consolidated too. I recognize that they all won't be fixed, but some is better than none. The less that politics are involved, the more likely it is that it will happen (for any given district).

The school districts could potentially be consolidated. It wasn't that long ago that they consolidated to 7. I think we could get away with 3. The problem I see is that 5, 6 and 7 are probably the most entrenched districts, and consolidation would probably have to conform to them.

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Spartan,

I came here because I knew you folks would be talking about this issue.

I read this article a couple of times and honestly...WOW. I was confused. I would like to understand the issues at hand. The pros and cons, the best interest of the county as a whole...I figure it will be made political and never come to fruition regardless if it is for the best or not.

If consolidation occured...for instance...does that mean Hampton Heights will no longer be a historic district? Does it mean that cell towers can be put anywhere? If you live in a mansion can someone move a trailer next door? Will we lose the leash law?

It's weird...on goupstate...County folks don't want the City laws pushed on them and I'm just the opposite...I don't want to lose the protection the City offers on certain things.

I get the impression from all of you that this will never happen regardless...but I still want to understand more. So please teach... :unsure:

No pressure!

:-) t

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Well, to be honest I had to read it a couple of times myself. It was not the most well written article. It didn't flow well to me. Plus the issue IS confusing.

TD, you should know that you won't get any intellectual response from goupstate, and nobody on hubbub gives a crap about this type of thing ;) You need to stop by here more often.

Historic districts are different. They won't apply in this consolidation because they are not a service district of any kind.

When they say "district" what they are talking about is a district of some sort that was established by some entity to provide X service.

For example someone may live in School District 7, the Spartanburg Water District, Spartanburg Sewer District, and in the City of Spartanburg so that person would have 6 votes (because the City provides its own fire and police, thats 3) assuming that there aren't any other districts that exist there (and there probably is one- probably EMS, and maybe more).

Let me get back to you tomorrow about this, as it is kind of late and I can't give you a reply worth reading without loosing my much needed beauty rest. I also need to double check my facts, because like you said, this is a VERY confusing issue.

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Thanks Spartan! I should know better than expecting to learn from goupstate...shouldn't I? :-)

I just saw your post on goupstate.... :wub: Loved it. I was thinking those things...but still not sure I understand it all enough to "argue" it...you know? Look forward to future posts though...

all I know...is I'm all for Spartanburg being a part of the progress that happens in this state!!

sweet dreams.

:-) t

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It looks like talks between the City and the County have been over the possibility of consilidation. Here is the article from the Herald-Journal.

Spartanburg is the last place that I expected to discuss consolidation, but I am certainly in favor of it. The article says that Spartanburg County woudl be among the most difficult to consolidate because there are something like 380 or so special districts in the county that could opt out of annexation, and many people would have multiple votes... for example, the a resident in the city would have a vote to decide whether the city could join and weather the water district could join.

Cherokee's consolidation move fell apart. Greenville and Union have also tried- unsuccessfully.

So, this will be an interesting process to follow. The article also notes that other counties, while not successful, have been able to consolidate some services.

Of more interest to me is that the city and county are discussing a joint services building- joining City Hall, District 7, "county functions," and the Water System operations in one building. I have no idea what county functions means.

I think consolidation would be the best thing that could ever happen to Spartanburg or any city in SC. It needs to start with projects like the consolidation of City Hall, Dist. 7, County Administration and the water system in one building. Make it a success and other consolidation can follow easier.

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I agree, spartanburgh. I hope that will happen, if nothing else. Though I do hope consolidation is not hopeless.

I haven't had a chance to look into the consolidation details yet. But I haven't forgotten about them.

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Here is how Consolidation works... This is confusing, so get ready... I have tried to cut out all of the legalese, and change the wording to make it require less thinking :)

Step 1: create a commission.

The commission will have eighteen members, all of whom must be residents of the county.

The governing body of the county will appoint six members- at least four of whom must live outside the corporate limits of Spartanburg city- with no more than two county appointees being elected officials. That means that the current politicians won't have much direct say in the process.

Also, six members of the commission must be residents of the incorporated municipalities within the county. Those are chosen like this:

The total population of all incorporated municipalities within the county, as determined by the most recent 2000 census, must be divided by six, the result being an apportionate average. The respective population of each municipality in the county must be divided by the apportionate average to determine any appointive index.

Bear in mind that I used half half og Greer's population for the time being, as i don't know exactly how many people live on the Spartanburg side of Greer. Here's where the fun starts.

Each municipality in the county will appoint a number of members to the commission equal to the whole number indicated by their appointive index (but no more than 4). No more than two municipal elected officials may be members of the commission. The option to appoint a municipal elected official is with the two municipalities with the largest population.

Campobello (population 449)

Central Pacolet (population 267)

Chesnee (population 1,003)

Cowpens (population 2,279)

Duncan (population 2,870) Members = 1

Greer (population 16,843)(Half = 8421) Members = 1

Inman (population 1,884)

Landrum (population 2,472)

Lyman (population 659)

Pacolet (population 2,690)

Reidville (population 478)

Spartanburg (population 39,673) Members = 4

Wellford (population 2,030)

Each special purpose district in the county may appoint a member to the commission equal to the nearest whole number indicated by their appointive index. However, no single special purpose district may appoint more than four members to the commission. No more than two officials from special purpose districts in the county may be members of the commission. The option to appoint a special purpose district official is with the two special purpose districts with the largest population. In no case may there be less than one member of the commission representing special purpose districts when a special purpose district exists within the county.

The total population of all special purpose districts within the county, must be divided by six and members apportioned appropriately, just like with the municipalities.

This is where it getrs fuzzy, because someone will actually have to research the boundaries and population of each special purpose district, then assign it an index to determine if it gets representation. That means that the Spartanburg Water System and the Spartanburg Sewer District would have representation, and probably SJWD Water District too. The others are more likely too small to get any representation.

Lets say the breakdown does like this, for the sake of argument:

Spartanburg Water District = 3

Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District = 2

SJWD Water District = 1

So, you have this representation break down, based on my numbers:

City of Spartanburg= 4

City of Greer = 1

City of Duncan = 1

Spartanburg Water Distrtict = 3

Spartanburg Sewer District = 2

SJWD Water District = 1

Spartanburg County= 6

Step 2

Within 10 days of the appointment, the commission must convene and elect a permenant chairman, then a secretary, and any other officers it deems necessary. Only reccomendations that recieve a 2/3 vote can be in the charter (what they are trying to create).

Step 3

The commission can study all matters relating to the establishment of a single countywide government within the county to be known as a "consolidated political subdivision" which has powers and jurisdiction throughout the territorial limits of the county and will replace the existing participating governments of the county and of all participating municipalities and all other participating political subdivisions in the county. The commisison will draft a proposed consolidated government charter which may provide any one or more of the following:

(1) For the abolishment of specified existing governments within the county and for the creation of a new single government having all the powers formerly exercised by the county, special and public service districts, and the municipalities within the county... including other powers as may be necessary.

However, in those counties where a special purpose district elects to exclude itself from consolidation, the remaining special purpose districts shall continue to operate as if no consolidation had taken place for its special purpose only. That means if any of the 8 water districts in the county decide not to consolidate, then none of them will.

Greer, whose boundaries encompass more than one county, shall make a recommendation to the charter commission as to how it will comply. The commission shall include the recommendations of that municipality in the charter submitted to the qualified electors of the county.

(2) For the new consolidated political subdivision to be eligible to have, hold, enjoy, and be entitled to any assistance, credits, benefits, monies, grants, grants-in-aid, funds, loans, aid, appropriations, and matching funds to the same extent that any county, municipality, or other political subdivisions of the State is entitled or by any other provision of law or under any present or future state or federal programs.

(3) For the abolishment of any public authorities, public service and special purpose districts, boards, and commissions created under acts of the General Assembly relating specifically to the county, public service or special purpose districts, or municipalities concerned and for the transfer of all powers, duties, and obligations of the authorities and special purpose districts to the consolidated political subdivision in the manner provided in the charter.

However, the charter may also provide that specified public service districts and special purpose districts may continue to perform the functions assigned to them by law under the supervision of district governing bodies existing prior to the consolidation (except for those districts which elect to be excluded from consolidation). For those districts that opt out, the charter must provide that it continue to perform the functions assigned to them by law as existing before the consolidation.

(4) For the abolishment of any public offices, positions of public employment of the county and of any municipality within the county, created by law of the State, and positions of public employment with any public authorities or special purpose districts located and operated within the county, excluding constitutional officers, members of the judiciary, and persons employed by or elected to serve in the public school system.

(5) For the creation of the governing body of the consolidated political subdivision, including the number of members, their powers, duties, terms of office, etc.

(6) For the creation, modification, and abolishment of various departments, offices, advisory boards, and positions of public employment.

(7) For the assumption by the consolidated political subdivision of all bonded indebtedness and all other obligations of whatever kind.

(8) For the purposes of levying any type tax authorized by law for counties and municipalities.

(9) For the creation of several classifications of taxing districts. (perhaps one urban, one rural, etc)

(10) For a method by which the taxing districts are created.

(11) For the method or methods by which the consolidated political subdivision may be dissolved. A consolidated political subdivision is not authorized until it has been in existence for 4 years.

(12) For the method or methods by which the charter may be amended and how any areas not included in the initial boundaries may be annexed to it.

The commission has to complete all of its studies and draft a proposed charter within 1 year of its initial appointment.

School districts are not affected by the consolidation.

Step 4

(A) The commission is required to hold at least three public hearings to determine the sentiment of the citizens.

(B) Immediately upon the completion of its work and the framing of a proposed charter, the proposed charter must be filed with the clerk of the Spartanburg County, with each of each of the municipalities, and must be certified by the chairman of the commission.

The commission will take such steps as it considers reasonable and appropriate to inform the public throughout the county of the contents of the proposed charter.

Step 5

There must be a call for an election within 30 days, and the election must take place within 60 days of the call... so within 90 days, you must have an eleciton.

All of this info is from SC Code of Law Section 4-8-10

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So in short, they have to create a commission, which is a pain in the ass to do. They must figure out how to organize everything so that everyone will be satisfied. Then the public has to approve it.

So, td- the answer to your other questions is that it will be up to the commission to decide such matters. They could potentially create an urban and a rural district, giving the urban one more city like rules of operation. The whole county would have zoning, as best as i can tell, since it has to take on both county and city functions.

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OH MY. How in the world could that ever be presented to the general public in say "STROLLERspeak?" :wacko:

That will be the largest obstacle, no doubt, because some group that's against it will come along and hook onto a single issue and ride it out until it's defeated...Just like the landfill issue. All it took...was "trash is bad" to get people out to a meeting to fight it...and while trash is bad...there were many other issues at hand...has Spartanburg addressed the issue of trash since? Have we discussed improving our recycling efforts to reduce waste or another proactive approach to the issue? Of course not...because people aren't interested in actually finding solutions...which is why a "one liner" is what it takes to sway today's public when making major decisions about government and our future.

The more I read about consolidation...the more it makes sense in many areas...but the frustrating part is how do you get folks to look at the bigger picture and the future?

What could be the "one liner" to push FOR consolidation?

Thanks so much for that Spartan.

;-) t

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You're absolutely right. If the goupstate boards are any example of the general populous (and I hope its not), then we'll have to explain what the rules are, and more specifically what is not affected (like schools). The concept is not very complicated, but the process of getting there is.

I think you could sell the idea by explaining that this will drasticly reduce the size of government and make it more effecient and saving money, which will in turn make Spartaburg a more attractive place to live. If Spartanburg really is a haven for conservative thinking, then consolidation would seem to be a logical step... right?

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As Spartan said, the "one liner" in favor of consolidation is savings. If it can be demonstrated that people will notice the benefits in their wallets, that's what needs to be touted above all else. Certain streamlined processes would be a secondary point, using examples from across the nation. Even Charlotte-Mecklenburg's quasi-consolidation of certain services/districts (schools, police, etc.) could be used as an example.

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The problem is that many people won't understand the savings, because their taxes will increase, even though in reality they will be paying their share.

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So I guess the savings must be demonstrated on a collective level rather than an individual level. In other words, by reducing duplication, it allows government to allocate more money towards parks, police, infrastructure, etc. Would I be accurate in this assessment?

It should be easier to convince those who live in the city, since they're basically subsidizing the cost for those who live in the county but enjoy city services.

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You got it. I think people might accept a small tax increase if they can grasp the concept that things might be better.

for example- they could save Duncan Park, and probably improve the general conditions of Una, Arcadia, Fairforest, and that area of the county; which cannot be accomplished as it stands because there is no money under the current system

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"So, you have this representation break down, based on my numbers:

City of Spartanburg= 4

City of Greer = 1

City of Duncan = 1

Spartanburg Water Distrtict = 3

Spartanburg Sewer District = 2

SJWD Water District = 1

Spartanburg County= 6"

Hey Spartan, Woodruff would actually get representation based on the statute. With an official population of 4,229, it is actually the second largest municipality wholly located within Spartanburg County.

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You're right^ I mistakenly left Woodruff out of the equation. Woodruff would probably get 1. But i did say that this was an example.

Welcome to the forum :)

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That was a good editorial. The case has to be made that the rural parts of the county would not be significantly affected by this restructuring. I think that is the only way to get popular support for this. Of course the process will have to make it that far before anything will happen.

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