COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Council held a public hearing for its 2024 budget Thursday, to give people an opportunity to voice their thoughts on where funding should be allocated.
Despite this meeting being open to the community, the only people to show up to speak were representing organizations asking for funding. Richland County has a total budget of $214 million proposed for the upcoming fiscal year.
The funding for grants and Hospitality Tax has not been allotted yet, so Thursday night gave groups an opportunity to ask for a portion of any available funding.
The organizations that presented included several from the Riverbanks Zoo to Pathways to Healing.
While the Pathways to Healing is requesting their funding to return since being taken away a few years ago, they are asking the county for $60,000. Riverbanks Zoo is making a larger request, with $2.7 million listed in the county budget under Millage Agency recommendations for 2024, and talks of a $36 million bond from the county as well over a decade-long collection period. (The bond was not discussed at the public hearing.)
As of May, the county budget shows around $9 million in Hospitality Tax money, and $1.2 million in Tourism Development, with other funding available in other categories as well.
According to the county's calendar, the council will have a special called meeting to vote on a second reading of the budget on May 25.
The Richland County budget needs to be finished by the beginning of June and will go into effect July 1.