Council votes to stop payments to team managing penny tax ahead of transition to new team

Council votes to stop payments to team managing penny tax ahead of transition to new team

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Council voted to freeze payments to the current team tasked with managing the penny tax program.

Council made the decision during Tuesday night’s meeting.

This is part of the process to transition away from the current Program Development Team (PDT) to a management team of county employees. Council voted to make that change earlier this year.

The move is meant to “save the taxpayers millions of dollars and improve oversight,” county officials said.

There’s about a month left on the contract of the PDT. Council froze their last administrative payment until the county’s legal team could make sure everything is in order financially, Councilman Jim Manning said.

The PDT’s project spending was recently audited by a third-party company hired by the county. That audit has not been made publicly available.

Over the summer, the team had issues paying contractors working on certain projects. Because of that, construction on some projects was delayed.

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During the transition away from the PDT to the county’s staff, some penny tax projects may slow down during the handoff, but most should operate as usual, Manning said.

In the meantime, taxpayers will soon be able to see how their money is being spent in the penny tax program.

An online database of documents will be provided for free on the Richland County website under the Transportation Penny section.

About 1.5 million documents will eventually be posted online after officials redact private information. They are supposed to be added to the website in stages starting soon, county officials said.

It’s not clear if the audit will be among those documents.


Richland County voters narrowly approved the penny tax in 2012 to fund various transportation-related projects countywide during a 22-year period. It went into effect in 2013, adding an additional penny on the dollar in sales tax.

Funds from the penny tax go to roadway projects, The Comet bus, and bicycle/pedestrian/greenways projects. Those projects include sidewalk improvements, widening of roadways, bike lanes and more.

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