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Dissolving the Greenville County Recreation District: Creating a Plan for Intergovernmental Cooperation in Greenville County

Robert J Barcelona, Robert S. Brookover, Marcus E. Smith, Ty P. Houck

Abstract


In July 2013, the Greenville County (SC) Recreation District (GCRD), a special purpose district founded in 1968, was dissolved by the South Carolina State Legislature, and a new Department ofvParks, Recreation, and Tourism (GCPRT) was created as part of GreenvillecCounty government. According to the County, the reasons for the dissolution ofcthe special district were twofold: 1) increased operating costs associated with new capital construction projects initiated by GCRD, and 2) a loss of tax revenue due to annexation of GCRD property by cities located within the District. Annexation was a problem because four of the six largest cities in Greenville County opted out of the recreation district when it was created, and instead chose to fund and support their own local parks and recreation departments. By opting out, city residents were exempt from paying the 4.6 mills of property tax that GCRD collected from special district residents. When GCRD was dissolved and reconstituted as a new county department, Greenville County council and administrators decided to levy the 4.6 mills on city residents to help provide additional funding for county parks, recreation, and tourism services. The affected cities raised concerns with this new arrangement, and several kept the doors open to legal action, as they believed they were being subjected to double taxation. This case places the reader in the role of a management consultant hired by Greenville County to develop a set of recommendations for managing the reorganization process, including developing a spending plan for the new undedicated revenue, providing suggestions for repairing relationships and rebuilding trust with the cities, and creating a plan to communicate the potential value of the new structure to the citizens of Greenville County.


Keywords


planning; financing; intergovernmental relations; partnerships

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