Richland County Council Waits To Release Recreation Commission Funding

Richland county waits to see if funding will be released for Recreation Commission funding

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Richland County Recreation Commission (RCRC) must wait another week to know if they will receive money held by Richland County Council.

Funding was originally frozen in a June 2016 meeting following an investigation into the commission which resulted in the arrest of the director and the stepping down of five of the seven board members.

For the past nine months the RCRC has been working with a limited budget.

They hoped that their funding woes would be solved with an audit. However, due to a technicality, they will have to wait.
 
"My motion is that we release the funding that this council withheld,” says Councilman Jim Manning.

At the beginning of Tuesday night's meeting, county council was prepared to release funds back to the RCRC, but there were some issues with the wording.
 
"There are some quality issues with the report,” says Gerald Seals, county administrator. Seals says the auditor needed to fix comments made in the report.

"He mentioned, for example, that there was dysfunction in the recreation commission as it is currently, but in the document there was an effort to sanitize that statement."

The audit looked at the way the commission operated and used finances. Saying that the commission should develop a more detailed budget.

Currently $8.4 million in funding is being withheld. Councilman Norman Jackson says that's affecting recreational programs like after school care.
  
"It's about the citizens,” says Jackson. ”It's about the children and I'm not going to sit here another minute and wait another week or another month to release the funds for these kids."
   
"At the time when the funds were withheld, the director at the time was refusing to leave, the board was refusing to let him go,” says Councilman Seth Rose. “But now we will have a new board and a new director over the commission. if the audit comes back clean then there is no reason to withheld funds."

the county is still waiting on the appointment of those six board members by Governor Henry McMaster, since the commission is separate from the county.

Richland County Council is expected to get an updated and final version of the audit in the next few days and plans on discussing is during their March 28 th meeting.

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