Richland County attempts to adjust Penny Tax Program after hiccups

Richland County attempts to adjust Penny Tax Program after hiccups

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - When WIS teams spoke to Council Chairman last month, he said the county was looking at a disparity of about $140 million between the projected and actual costs of the Penny Tax Program.

Since that time, the transportation committee has been working to get things back on track, and at the meeting tonight, they presented what they’ve come up with so far.

Transportation Director Mike Niermeier said his team has been working diligently to try to get the penny program back on track.

“There are a lot of factors that go into price increases. It could be materials, it could be how much you have to spend on buying parcels to widen roads or improve intersections,” Niermeier said. “You have to remember, when these initial estimates were projected in 2010, that was a point in time.”

At one point, some penny tax project construction stalled after a contractor didn’t receive payment. Niermeier said at an earlier council meeting, that was due to a processing lag on the county’s end. He says that issue now has been squared away and crews should be back to the site next week to finish the work.

For now, Niermeier says they’ll continue to make adjustments to try to maintain the program in a way that’s resourced properly.

“There are certain projects that don’t make sense now that maybe made sense in 2010, but maybe not in 2019-2020,” he said.

Niermeier says he’ll probably be meeting with the clerk of council tomorrow to try to set a final date on a work session where his team will lay out a financial plan.

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