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Council asks for documents related to Richland penny tax

The county is giving the group that manages the penny tax a deadline to provide the materials.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Richland County Council is requesting documents related to the penny tax from the group that manages the funds for the program. 

The request was made Thursday night at the council's meeting, and asked the penny tax's Program Development Team (PDT) to send all ledgers, books, change orders, and whom approved them to the council by August 30, 2019.

The decision came after Councilmember Joe Walker wrote a letter this week publicly asking for an audit of the program to be released. Walker claims he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement to review the audit.

The PDT will also have to provide all other documents related to the program by September 15, according to Councilmember Dalhi Myers. Myers said under the agreement with the PDT, all penny tax program documents belong to Richland County and the taxpayers

Voters approved the penny tax in 2012, and it was designed to primarily fix roads and create other structure improvements around Richland County. 

Walker says more transparency is needed both with the program, and the council in general. This week, he wrote the state attorney general and asked him to start a criminal investigation into the council's settlement with former County Administrator Gerald Seals. Seals was fired in 2018, and the council gave him a $1 million settlement. 

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