Required Courses

Sessions A and B are held in person in Columbia prior to the Association's Hometown Legislative Action Day.

The other required courses are held during the day at the 10 regional councils of governments" sites. During the program, participants ask questions via phone conference with an expert on the topic. Also, time is available for group discussions at each site.

Officials may register for in-person and online required courses. 

Basic Budgeting and Municipal Finance
Participating in the municipal budget process is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of a local official. Learn the most important steps in the budget process from preparation to implementation and understand council's responsibility for making sure the budget is properly administered.

Forms of Municipal Government
A council operates under one of three forms of municipal government in South Carolina. Learn about the roles and responsibilities of councilmembers, the mayor and manager/administrator in each of the forms.

Freedom of Information Act in SC
Open government is the cornerstone of accountable leadership. Learn about the state's FOIA requirements, including the release of public documents, proper notice of public meetings and appropriate use of executive sessions.

Municipal Governance and Policy
There are many complexities in the law related to the authority of a municipal council. Explore the legislative source of municipal authority, the meaning of the term "Home Rule," and how to effectively implement municipal policies.

Municipal Economic Development
For municipalities to attract new businesses and grow existing businesses, local officials must establish an organizational commitment to economic development. Find out how to identify a community's economic development assets, develop a plan to take advantage of these assets and use available tools to finance projects.

Session A

The City as an Employer
Your most important resource as an employer should be your employees. Learn the basics of effective human resource management and the elected officials" roles and responsibilities as a public sector employer.

Conducting Public Meetings
State law requires all municipalities adopt and follow rules of procedure. Learn how to hold effective meetings by focusing on the goals and requirements associated with a town's rules of procedure and how they relate to issues such as noticing public meetings, holding executive sessions, establishing a quorum and taking minutes.

Visioning, Strategic Planning and Goal Setting
The ability of the mayor, councilmembers and staff to work together as a team for the common good of the community is a strong asset. Get tips for establishing a vision for your municipality, thinking strategically, translating ideas into strategies and working with others to put those strategies into action to reach defined goals.

An Overview of Local Government Planning and Zoning
Planning and zoning are complex, yet critical, components to promote orderly growth, reduce land use conflicts, and prepare for expansion of public services and facilities to serve developing areas. Explore the role of the planning commission and board of zoning appeals and learn about state laws governing their operation.

Session B

Business License Tax Administration
Business licensing can be an important source of municipal revenue, and state law is very specific about how to administer the tax properly. Is it legal to exempt individual businesses from paying the tax? Does state law require using gross receipts to calculate licenses? Find out the answers to these questions and more.

Ethics and Public Accountability
Public accountability is key to local leaders" credibility. Learn about the state Ethics Act that dictates proper campaign procedures, rules of conduct and financial disclosure.

Intergovernmental Relations
Collaboration and sharing resources across all levels of government are vital to a municipality's success. Learn about the roles and responsibilities of federal, state and local governments in South Carolina; how to develop effective working relationships with officials on each level; and how advocacy is a way to ensure councils have the tools they need to lead their hometowns.

Liability of Municipalities and Their Elected Officials
Claims and litigation are unavoidable costs of providing municipal services. Explore how to avoid and reduce the number and costs of such claims and understand how public officials can be held individually liable for their actions while carrying out their duties.

Municipal Annexation
Annexation is an important tool for cities to grow strategically. Learn how to prepare and implement a successful annexation plan.