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EX PARTE TIPTON

July 3, 1956

EX PARTE B.F. TIPTON, INTERVENING PETITIONER-APPELLANT, IN RE SHERWOOD SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ED B. SMITH, E. ROY STONE, JR., MRS. D.A. TILLINGHAST, JOHN DRAKE, C. DOUGLAS WILSON, L.E. BROOKSHIRE, TOM TURNER, LEON CAMPBELL, L.M. GLENN, CONSTITUTING THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF GREENVILLE MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM DISTRICT, AND JOHN P. ASHMORE, BELTON R. O'NEALL, J.A. BARRY, ANSEL M. HAWKINS, CONSTITUTING THE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF GREENVILLE COUNTY, RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Legge, Justice.

July 3, 1956.

The essential issue here involved is whether or not a certain proposal to amend Article X, § 5, of the Constitution of South Carolina was properly submitted to the voters in the general election of November 2, 1954.

Article X, § 5, imposes two limitations upon the power of a municipal corporation to incur bonded indebtedness, viz.: (a) that its bonded debt shall not exceed eight per cent of the assessed value of all taxable property within its boundaries; and (b) that "wherever there shall be several political divisions or municipal corporations covering or extending over the territory, or portions thereof, possessing a power to levy a tax or contract a debt, then each of such political divisions or municipal corporations shall so exercise its power to increase its debt under the foregoing eight per cent limitation that the aggregate debt over and upon any territory of this State shall never exceed fifteen per centum of the value of all taxable property in such territory as valued for taxation by the State."

Greenville Memorial Auditorium District is a municipal corporation in Greenville County. In connection with the contemplated issuance of bonds for the purpose of constructing a public auditorium within the district, as authorized by Act No. 534 of 1949, XLVI Stat. at L., p. 1258, it developed that the bonded debt of the district, after the issuance of said bonds, would still be within the eight per cent limitation, but would exceed the fifteen per cent overall limitation before mentioned. Validation of the proposed bond issue required, therefore, amendment of Article X, § 5, by removing the fifteen per cent overall limitation as to these bonds. To this end, on March 20, 1954, the General Assembly adopted the following Joint Resolution, XLVIII Stat. at L., p. 2175:

"A Joint Resolution Proposing An Amendment To Section 5 of Article X of The Constitution Of 1895, So As To Provide A Limitation Upon The Bonded Indebtedness Of Greenville Memorial Auditorium District, In Greenville County, South Carolina.

"Be It Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

"Section 1. There is proposed the following amendment to Section 5, Article X, of the Constitution of this State: add at the end of the section the following: `Provided, that the limitations imposed by this Section 5, Article X, shall have no application to the bonded indebtedness of Greenville Memorial Auditorium District, in Greenville County, South Carolina, and the Greenville Memorial Auditorium District may incur bonded indebtedness for corporate purposes to an amount not exceeding eight per cent of the assessed value of all the taxable property in the district.'

"Section 2. The proposed amendment shall be submitted to the qualified electors at the next general election for representatives. Ballots shall be provided at the various voting precincts with the following words printed or written thereon: `Shall Section 5, Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended so as to permit Greenville Memorial Auditorium District in Greenville County to incur bonded indebtedness to an amount not exceeding eight per cent of the assessed value of all taxable property in the district?

In favor of the amendment []

Opposed to the amendment []

Those voting in favor of the amendment shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the words "In favor of the amendment", and those voting against the amendment shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the words "Opposed to the amendment"'".

The ballot as submitted to the voters in the general election read as follows:

"No. 5

Greenville ...


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