Palmetto Sunrise: Flooding and bonds to be discussed today

Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler convenes the Joint Capital Bond Study Committee today to look at the state’s capital needs. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

C0LUMBIA -- Flooding and bonds are two words that will continue to appear in the same sentence throughout the winter and possibly the spring, as needs continue to stack up.

A Senate committee will meet for the second time in nearly two weeks to receive input on costs state agencies incurred as well as damage done to infrastructure from last month’s flood; most of which is still unknown.

This hearing comes after the full House Ways and Means Committee met last week to receive input similar to what was heard at the first Senate panel meeting. The hearing gave state budget writers a glimpse of the costs that will soon face the state.

So far the S.C. National Guard and the state Emergency Management Division, both under the Adjutant General’s Office, have incurred upwards of $37 million in costs from the historic flooding event. Like many eligible costs, 75 percent is expected to be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The state picks up the tab for what is not covered by FEMA or other federal agencies, and bonding for those unknown remains one of several options.

Senate President Pro Tempore and Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman told The Post and Courier that he wants to take care of flooding costs before any new bond bill, addressing other capital needs, is approved.

Leatherman is not on the Joint Capital Bond Study Committee, which meets today, but chairs the Senate’s flood response committee. He added both bonding requests, should they occur, wouldn’t necessarily be mutually exclusive.

The bond study committee will look into the state’s bonding capacity, current outstanding debt and capital improvement needs for higher education and other agencies. Two bond bills died elaborate legislative deaths this past year in the House and Senate, which spawned this committee to additional input on needs.

Meanwhile, coastal mayors are looking at federal options to restore an estimated 25 percent of a $30 million beach-restoration project completed 18 months ago. Reporter Prentiss Findlay has the latest.

Also, did you catch Trump on SNL? Here’s one way to start your Monday. Another way is to keep an eye on flooding and road closures here.

News you may have missed over the weekend:

Capitol Gains: Lawmakers’ descriptions of expenses are often as clear as mud (The Post and Courier)

Heroin overdose deaths casting dark shadow on Lowcountry (The Post and Courier)

Zach Hammond profile: the good and the bad (The Greenville News)

DSS asks for additional $32 million to hire caseworkers (The Post and Courier)

A day of presidential politics at Winthrop (The Greenville News)

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