Legal opinion addresses age-old irk

May 29, 2014

The office of South Carolina Attorney General has weighed in with an opinion on an issue that, over the years, has annoyed some rural residents who rely on municipalities for water service. At the request of Anderson State Representative Don Bowen, the Attorney General’s office this month issued a seven-page opinion on whether the City of Anderson can charge people who live outside the city limits higher rates for water than it charges its residents. The conclusion, as reached by assistant attorney general Elinor Lister, is the City of Anderson can charge people who live outside the city limits higher rates. Lister found that Anderson’s outside water rate charges do not violate either the “equal protection” or the “due process” clauses of the South Carolina Constitution. She also addressed a complaint which the City of Seneca heard 25 years or more ago when she wrote: “It would appear that the water rates charged by the City of Anderson to non-residents are not taxation without representation since they are not taxes. However, this is a factual matter that would have to be determined by a court.”

 

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