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monsoon

A Case for Changing SC's Annexation Laws

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I found a rather interesting report (pdf) on what SC's annexation laws are doing to the cities in the state. Basically it advocates scrapping the system and adopting the philosophy that exists NC in terms of annexation.

One of the most important paragraphs from the report:

" I’ve stated that South Carolina has among the worst annexation laws;

they condemn the state’s cities to slow decline. In my view, North Carolina

has the best annexation laws; they virtually guarantee that their cities will be

successful. North Carolina’s philosophy is that if you choose to live in an

urbanizing area, you are benefiting from what a nearby city offers; you

should not be allowed to cherry pick only city benefits and accept none of

the responsibilities as a taxpayer and voter. Thus, North Carolina law

virtually compels its cities to annex urbanizing areas by council ordinance

alone regardless of the preferences of property owners."

The report goes on to compare how growth and economic prosperity have differed from NC's cities vs SC because of the way annexation is handled in SC. The biggest difference is that SC is urbanizing unincorporated areas and NC is incorporating areas covered by municipalities.

There are also some interesting observations of how much land is needed for each new resident in SC. All of SC cities are worse than the national average. Columbia seems to be the best of the big three, but it is not that good.

So what do you guys think. Should and can the annexation laws be changed in SC?

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They should be changed but I don't think that will happen until decades from now. It's really sad to see our cities be left in the dust

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I found a rather interesting report (pdf) on what SC's annexation laws are doing to the cities in the state. Basically it advocates scrapping the system and adopting the philosophy that exists NC in terms of annexation.

One of the most important paragraphs from the report:

" I

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I would love to see a North Carolina-esque annexation law in South Carolina. It has been discussed on here, many times, how our annexation laws need to be changed to benefit our cities. Actually passing a change, however, might prove difficult.

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I would love to see a North Carolina-esque annexation law in South Carolina. It has been discussed on here, many times, how our annexation laws need to be changed to benefit our cities. Actually passing a change, however, might prove difficult.

Rusk has interesting things to say. What realistically could be done to nudge the process along?

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The people and (by extension) the legislature of South Carolina are anti-municipal as a whole. I don't think the average SC Joe thinks that a larger city benefits them. They largely view cities as yeat another layer of taxes that most (think they) can do without. There needs to be a concerteed effort to let people know the benefits of living in a thriving municapility whose character and numbers are appropriate to the size of their real constiutuency (ie the urbanized area).

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I don't have time for a lengthy reply, metro, but that basicly sums up and proves what we have been saying on the SC forum for the longest time. NC has fantasic annexation laws.

Historically, SC has been a rural dominated state, and state government dominated place. Cities were just arms of the state government before 1976, and did not need to annex. They are separate now, but they are still held back by the annexation laws.

Times are slowly changing though. There have been some bills proposed in the General Assembly that would loosen up our annecation laws. I'll post more later.

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I don't have time for a lengthy reply, metro, but that basicly sums up and proves what we have been saying on the SC forum for the longest time. NC has fantasic annexation laws.

Historically, SC has been a rural dominated state, and state government dominated place. Cities were just arms of the state government before 1976, and did not need to annex. They are separate now, but they are still held back by the annexation laws.

Times are slowly changing though. There have been some bills proposed in the General Assembly that would loosen up our annecation laws. I'll post more later.

What you are saying correlates with what our urban politics professor taught us this summer. That SC residents have a historical mistrust of cities and their "weird" and somewhat scary inhabitants which lead to a legislature dominated by rural interests and lawmakers who saw fit to keep cities and their residents boxed in and reliant upon the state for their survival and economic well being. Incidentally this is not just a southern phenomena, this has historically happened all across America, witness the boxed in older central cities of New York, Cleveland, and Boston for example, with no hope for geographical expansion.

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Greenville is definitaly boxed in. Columbia and Charleston atleast have a chance to expand their borders greatly. I know they are starting to pick up on them.

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Greenville is definitaly boxed in. Columbia and Charleston atleast have a chance to expand their borders greatly. I know they are starting to pick up on them.

Maybe I'm wrong for this but I love how the city of Charleston grabbed all of Daniel Island and land all the way up to the Francis Marion National Forest from Berkeley County before they even knew what was happening. Boy were they furious! North Charleston took some land from Dorchester County as well. It's a shame that our municipalities have to resort to such measures to remain viable. I don't beliebve that Greenville is entirely boxed in. There's areas like Gantt, City View, and Powdersville that are heavily urbanized but unicorporated that Greenville should annex right away. Also, isn't Taylors unincorporated too? Greenville has a lot of potential in regards to expansion.

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The answer is yes to all of that, SimCity.

Greenville is "boxed in" so to speak, but cities don't annex just to boost their population. All of those areas you mention probably have their own speacial service districts that make annexation difficult. It has to be economical. Greenville's method of boosting the city's population is a great one: make living in the city attractive so people will want to live there. Other cities like Spartanburg and Anderson are starting to realize this as well, and are following Greenville's lead.

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"One result can be seen in their relatively greater fiscal strength.

While these six cities average Aa2 bond ratings (the same as Charleston and

Columbia, the state

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The answer is yes to all of that, SimCity.

Greenville is "boxed in" so to speak, but cities don't annex just to boost their population. All of those areas you mention probably have their own speacial service districts that make annexation difficult. It has to be economical. Greenville's method of boosting the city's population is a great one: make living in the city attractive so people will want to live there. Other cities like Spartanburg and Anderson are starting to realize this as well, and are following Greenville's lead.

I agree with this statement, but the obvious objection is why has the city continued to lose population? I know that may change by the next census, but by what, a few thousand? As I have stated before, I believe that Gville should annex, at least some, as it will be the only way for it to add any significant amount to it's population. The only other way, very dense affordable housing and appts, has not really been tried, but the demand does not seem to be there. Most pepole still want a little yard and a driveway. For that, you have to go outside the city, and as has been pointed out, that is difficult to annex. Unfortunately, Gville did not annex much way back when, when there was less development and less laws. So Gville may be "stuck" in it's phantom zone of low populationess, despite high county and regional growth.

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I agree with this statement, but the obvious objection is why has the city continued to lose population?

It's a national trend. If you did not count annexed properties, most cities have lost population in the past thirty years.

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But Greenvill's population loss has started to level off. Current Census estimates show a gain. Cities in SC don't annex jsut for population gain. It has to be economical. Residential costs more for the city to annex (services) than commercial or industrial. Greenville just has enough of the other two to balance it out.

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Good point, but it still begs the question of why are so many other SC cities doing it where gville can't. (ie Cola, Chas, Mauldin, Greer, RH, etc). If they can, so can Gville (it seems to me). I would think a good case could be made for annexation, aren't Gville county taxes higher than city taxes? If so, that is a huge reason ritght there, pay lower taxes and have more services.

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Being annexed by the city would not release the people from having to pay county taxes. They would have to pay both which is the primary justification given for not being annexed. Being annexed usually means getting city garbage pickup, better police protection, fire protection, water & sewer, and street lights. These things do exist sometimes in unincorporated places but they are usually provided either privately, via volunteer efforts (fire) or sometimes by the city extended out but at higher prices (like water and sewer).

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I think what most people fail to realize is that, even though they may be paying higher taxes, their homeowners or renters insurance is cheaper because of the better fire and police protection. They also don't have to pay for trash collection.

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I think what most people fail to realize is that, even though they may be paying higher taxes, their homeowners or renters insurance is cheaper because of the better fire and police protection. They also don't have to pay for trash collection.

I believe you are correct! Which is really unfortunate...

But not to worry everyone... one day SC will wake up and we'll be home to a humorous race and fights over who gets to annex what (sounds like Greer and Reidville right now). Not to mention we'll have the fastest growing cities :rofl:

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I think what most people fail to realize is that, even though they may be paying higher taxes, their homeowners or renters insurance is cheaper because of the better fire and police protection. They also don't have to pay for trash collection.

I believe it is actually cheaper to live in the city of Greenville, and pay higher taxes, than to live outside of the Greenville city limits and pay less in taxes but extra for garbage collection. A lot of people just look at the taxes though, and conclude that they would rather not be in the city limits.

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Being annexed by the city would not release the people from having to pay county taxes. They would have to pay both which is the primary justification given for not being annexed. Being annexed usually means getting city garbage pickup, better police protection, fire protection, water & sewer, and street lights. These things do exist sometimes in unincorporated places but they are usually provided either privately, via volunteer efforts (fire) or sometimes by the city extended out but at higher prices (like water and sewer).

While that's true... the amount of millage paid to the county drops when you become part of a municipality... you still pay for some county services, but not all. Your tax bill in most cases goes up... but it isn't a system where you pay your full county taxes... and then more municipal taxes on top of that.

Edited by breed

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Good point, but it still begs the question of why are so many other SC cities doing it where gville can't. (ie Cola, Chas, Mauldin, Greer, RH, etc). If they can, so can Gville (it seems to me). I would think a good case could be made for annexation, aren't Gville county taxes higher than city taxes? If so, that is a huge reason ritght there, pay lower taxes and have more services.

Those cities you listed primarily use water and or sewer as the 'carrot' for annexation. Primarily to developers who annex their planned subdivisions before any lots are sold. Greenville did not do the same in the 1950's and '60's when Taylors, the EAstside, etc. where developing. Now those areas don't have much incentive to annex because they already get the city services they need most.

In the case of Charleston, the taxes actually are cheaper than what the Public Service Districts (PSDs) charge for water/sewer/fire. This is primarily because of Charleston's shift from property taxes to the Local Option Sales Tax. PSD's don't share in these revenues and therefore can't compete on cost any longer.

If Greenville is to annex significant amounts of developed areas, Greenville would need to pass the L.O.S.T., IMO.

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That makes more sense guys, thanks for the info. Still, I wonder if Gville would "advertise" the benefits of being in the city, and show comparisons on taxes/mills, etc, it might convince people to want to annex (kinda like the Chantecleer neighborhood). If the city were to "sell itself", perhaps that would help.

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That makes more sense guys, thanks for the info. Still, I wonder if Gville would "advertise" the benefits of being in the city, and show comparisons on taxes/mills, etc, it might convince people to want to annex (kinda like the Chantecleer neighborhood). If the city were to "sell itself", perhaps that would help.

Here is what Orangeburg's mayor is doing. I think Greenville should go in this general direction as well to start with.

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