Legislation (S.984) to allow counties to continue imposing local service fees resides on the House floor. The bill passed the Senate last month and is an effort to end all uncertainty, and legal chaos since the Supreme Court ruled Greenville’s local road use and public safety fees invalid last year. (Burns V. Greenville County Council)
The bill codifies the elements for local fees established in Brown v. Horry County (1992) and removes the requirement that the fee benefits the payer differently from the general public. It also includes provisions to ensure that counties are not liable for paying out ten times the amount* and safeguards to ensure that counties who immediately repealed fees and increased taxes do not automatically re-impose fees.
The bill now moves to the House floor. We encourage members of the SC House to support passage of S.984. Otherwise, tax increases are imminent in most cases, and these increases will certainly pack a major punch if any of these lawsuits succeed.
*Some attorneys who have filed class-action suits against counties are using an obscure code section they believe entitles the plaintiffs to ten times the fees charged, which would require astronomical payouts in some instances depending on how long the local fees have been in place and how much was collected.