County Council has approved the terms of a settlement agreement to end long-running litigation involving the County, the Central Midlands Regional Transportation Authority and the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) over the County’s Transportation Penny Tax Program.
The settlement agreement requires no payment by the County to SCDOR. Rather, the County will invest an additional $15.5 million into penny tax program projects. The agreement also states that SCDOR’s audit of the penny tax program did not find any fraud on Richland County’s behalf. County officials view the settlement as an opportunity for taxpayers to reestablish confidence in the program that voters approved nine years ago to fund infrastructure improvements.
Key points from the settlement agreement state that:
- SCDOR’s audit contained “no findings of civil or constructive fraud, self-dealing, improper relationship or civil conspiracy on the part of Richland County.”
- Richland County took “significant steps to ensure that its constituents have confidence” in the penny tax program and “has demonstrated a continuing commitment to fostering and maintaining and open government and being transparent to taxpayers.”
- Richland County benefited taxpayers by bringing administration of the penny tax program in-house to be run by County staff.
“For the citizens, our employees and this Council, it was time to put this dispute behind us and focus on delivering the penny tax projects approved by our citizens. We have brought this program in-house, and our employees are doing an excellent job of managing the program in accordance with Department of Revenue guidelines, a fact that is acknowledged in the settlement agreement,” said Richland County Chair Paul Livingston, District 4.
To view the full settlement agreement, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/transportation.