Creating a Financial Assistance Program for Repairing Private Dams

H.4527 mandates that the General Assembly appropriate $25 million to DHEC for a revolving fund that provides financial assistance loans to owners of damaged private dams that have public access roads on them, or are on a body of water that allows public access. All loans must be repaid on an amortization schedule of 15 years or less.

This issue is a slightly tricky one. The dams in question have access to public infrastructure that would be damaged if the dams gave way, making this a public concern within the scope of the proper role of government. That said, it is poorly executed. First of all, there is no indicator where the $25 million will come from at a time when we allegedly don’t have sufficient funds to repair our roads. Secondly, there is no sunset provision on this bill, which means the fund will continue to operate even after the damage from the October 2015 flooding is repaired. Anytime the state is forced to address infrastructure issues on private land, the circumstances should be such that a severe threat is posed to public infrastructure and property, and should be the exception to state policy, not the rule.

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