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Richland County Council meeting ends with few details on recent Penny Tax discussion

A special called meeting of Richland County Council came after a County delegation met with the South Carolina Department of Revenue last week

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Questions linger about what is going on with taxpayer money used to fund Richland County's Penny Tax program.

Richland County Council met Tuesday night to discuss an update on an ongoing legal fight between the County and South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Earlier this week, WLTX confirmed a County delegation met with the SCDOR last Wednesday, but no details on the meeting have been made public.

In a statement sent Monday, the Department of Revenue said they've had frequent discussions with Richland County about penny tax expenditures dating back to a 2018 state Supreme Court case, which ruled some money was spent improperly.

Neither Council nor DOR have provided details on what prompted Richland County’s special called meeting.

On Tuesday night, after beginning the meeting the Council immediately went into executive session, but not before some drama.

To start, most of Council voted not to go into executive session, forcing Vice Chair Dalhi Myers to motion to adjourn. Myers told the group there was no point in meeting if they could not discuss the legal matter in executive session.

After Myers made her motion, Council relented and approved going into executive session.

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One hour and 45 minutes later, Myers made the following motion.

“I move to instruct Richland County's legal department, administration, and finance staffs to take all actions consistent with the discussions regarding South Carolina DOR litigation in executive session. And, to report back to this Council at our next meeting or sooner if necessary to provide guidance as to possible next steps, recommendations, actions and remedies,” Myers said.

The meeting was then immediately adjourned.

After the meeting, several council members declined to comment about the executive session or give more details on the motion's intended purpose.

Council members Yvonne McBride, Dalhi Myers, Allison Terracio, Joe Walker, Bill Malinowski, Chip Jackson, Chakisse Newtown and Jim Manning all declined comment or left before WLTX could ask them.

While leaving, Chairman Paul Livingston said the point of Tuesday night’s meeting was to give DOR’s update.

Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, when asked to give details about the motion, said it was to “get information.”

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