Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Richland County Council held the second reading on Hospitality Tax funding Monday night, as they prepare to pass next year's budget.
Council had more than 50 Hospitality Tax items to consider for approval but a Water Park and Sports Complex proposal were heavily debated and carries a nearly 40 Million dollar price tag combined.
Feasibility studies were done to see if putting a Water Park and or Sports Complex in Richland County would be a good fit.
The county receives five million dollars annually from the hospitality tax and many council members say those funds come primarily from those who live outside of the city of Columbia, but most of the money is approved by council to be spent in the city.
Councilman Torrey Rush sponsored the Water Park that would be off of Farrow Road and costs 20 million dollars. The Park would be on land that the county already owns.
Councilman Kelvin Washington sponsored the Sports Arena that would be in the lower Richland Area and would cost 16 million dollars.
There was some opposition from Councilman Gregory Pearce and Seth Rose who both criticized the plan for not having an analysis of how much it would cost to run the facilities.
"I think it would be good for the county as a whole, it's not just for the northeast or another part of the county it's for the entire county. It's to try and get people off of I-77, I-26, I-20, to stop in this county, stay in hotels and spend money," said Councilman Rush.
"All of this other money is being spent in the Columbia area and is discretionary money that we are voting on and raising our hands on and some of the same people who support this project are voting in support of . At some point we are going to have to make a change in our philosophy on how we appropriate all of that money," said Councilman Pearce.
Councilman Seth Rose and Jim Manning Voted against the measure. The third and final reading will be on Next Thursday and will include a cost analysis so that could come with more opposition.