Womble Carlyle attorney Belton Zeigler assisted the City of West Columbia in successfully accomplishing the largest annexation in the City’s history on July 26th. The annexation added approximately 10% to the City’s population, and brought a major revenue-producing big box retail district into the city limits.
In South Carolina, large-area annexations are notoriously difficult because they require a favorable referendum vote by residents in the area to be annexed. Voters typically see the negatives but not the positives of annexation. Based on advice from Zeigler, the City took a new tack, adopting ordinances granting residents discounted in-City water and sewer rates on a provisional basis before the vote.
The lower rates demonstrated the benefits of annexation and are credited with contributing to the favorable response at the polls. Other South Carolina towns may take this innovative approach in the future.
Click here to read coverage of the annexation in The State newspaper.
Belton Zeigler brings more than 30 years of experience to his South Carolina-based municipal, utility, environmental and energy practice. He has served as General Counsel to a major electric utility, and also served as Vice President for industrial customer relations, power marketing and strategic planning. In addition, he has litigated a number of important municipal powers and public finance cases in the South Carolina courts, including appearing before the South Carolina Supreme Court in numerous cases.