BRADENTON, Fla. - A South Carolina Supreme Court ruling striking down a referendum requirement will make it easier and less costly for cities and towns to sell their old, leaky water and sewer systems to counties that can make improvements, benefiting economic development prospects and the environment.

The ruling, which became final last week, also has the potential for prompting the issuance of more utility debt from the state as local governments improve services, a South Carolina bond attorney said.

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