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HORRY CTY. v. UNITED STATES

May 4, 1978

HORRY COUNTY, a Political Subdivision of the State of South Carolina, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Defendant


Findings of Fact

1. Plaintiff Horry County is a political subdivision of the State of South Carolina, chartered by the State pursuant to Article VIII, Section 1, of the South Carolina Constitution to exercise the power and authority vested in political subdivisions by Section 4-1-10 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, which include the power "to sue and be sued." Complaint, paragraph 1. *fn1"

2. For many years, including the period from November 1, 1964 through November 2, 1976, Horry County was administered by a Board of Commissioners composed of six members and a chairman. The Board was a non-legislating, non-taxing body which performed limited administrative functions. Complaint, paragraph 5; Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts as to Which There is No Genuine Issue, paragraph 3.

 4. The commissioners could be removed from office by the Governor upon the written request of a majority of the county legislative delegation. Section 14-2313 of the 1962 Code. Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts, paragraph 2.

 5. The chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Horry County was separately elected at large by all citizens of Horry County eligible to vote in such elections pursuant to Section 14-2314 of the former Code of Laws of South Carolina (1962), as amended. Complaint, paragraph 4.

 6. Prior to November 2, 1976 the governmental affairs of Horry County were regulated annually to a large extent by the so-called Horry County Supply Bills, acts that provided for operation of the government of Horry County and for levy of taxes to support governmental operations and which appropriated designated amounts of funds for specific county purposes. Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts, paragraph 3.

 7. Prior to November 2, 1976 it was a well-known practice of the South Carolina General Assembly to enact local supply bills upon the agreement of the legislative delegation of the county involved. The Horry County legislative delegation performed the legislative, executive, and taxing functions for the county. Public funds in Horry County were disbursed pursuant to letters of authorization to the County Treasurer signed by the Senator and a majority of the members of the House delegation. Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts, paragraph 4.

 8. Prior to November 2, 1976 all Horry County employees employed by the Board of Commissioners not involved in construction, repair, and maintenance of roads and bridges could be employed or discharged only with the written consent of the Senator and a majority of the county legislative delegation. Section 14-2318 of the 1962 Code, as amended. Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts, paragraph 5.

 9. Prior to November 2, 1976 the chairman of the Horry County Board of Commissioners had direct charge of construction and repair of all roads and bridges in the county, the chain gang, and all road machines and hired help engaged in such work, subject to the general direction and authority of the Board. He had authority to employ and discharge any employee working on construction, repair, and maintenance of roads and bridges in the county, subject to approval of a majority of the Board. The chairman appointed all road overseers. Section 14-2318, as amended by 1964(53)2202, of 1962 Code. Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts, paragraph 6.

 10. On May 13, 1975 the Circuit Court of South Carolina, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, held in Booth v. Grisson that the form of government described in Findings 2 through 9 supra was in violation of the Constitution of South Carolina.

 11. Home rule legislation was adopted in 1972, amending Article VIII of the South Carolina Constitution. As amended Article VIII provides in Section 7 that the General Assembly "shall provide by general law for the structure, organization, powers, duties, functions, and the responsibilities of counties * * *. Alternative forms of government, not to exceed five, shall be established." Complaint, paragraph 6.

 12. Pursuant to Article VIII of the South Carolina Constitution, the General Assembly of South Carolina enacted Sections 14-3701 et seq. of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1962, recodified as Sections 4-9-10 et seq. of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, providing for five alternative forms of elected county government. The General Assembly therein provided that "[each] county * * * may prior to July 1, 1976, conduct a referendum to determine the wishes of the qualified voters as to the form of government to be selected * * *." Complaint, paragraph 7.

 13. On August 26, 1975 Horry County conducted a referendum to determine the form of government that should be established within the county and to determine the manner in which the members of the governing body of the county should be elected. Complaint, paragraph 8.

 14. The voters in the referendum voted to adopt the council-administrator form of government for Horry County, with a council of eight members and a chairman, and to adopt the at large method of electing the members and ...


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