Coast RTA funding issues still a concern with county council - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Coast RTA funding issues still a concern with county council

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Council said it will give Coast RTA another chance to "get things right " before they risk possible funding limits from the county. 

Many rely on the public transportation of Coast RTA, and that's why county council members decided to go ahead and approve granting them the last of a four-quarter funding agreement even though the council said the board has not held up their end of the agreement.

When the county and Coast RTA entered into their funding agreement it was under several terms and conditions that they would receive the $1,055,000 in funding for the 2014-2015 budget year.

But approaching the last quarter, there were four items the county said were not accomplished by Coast RTA, one including a forensic audit that was requested months ago.

The last payment of $263,750 was supposed to happen on April 17, but it was put on hold.

Without the last payment, the transportation system was facing layoffs and possible shutdown of services, something they did not want to see happen. So instead, county council members voted to go ahead and allow the last payment, and granted to an extension for the Coast RTA to get the items completed.

If it doesn't get done before the final reading of the 2016 fiscal year budget, the transpiration system stands to lose funding from the county.

"I didn't feel that was the appropriate thing to do," said Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus. "So if they can't fix the situation, fix the funding agreement, and address the concerns of council, then it's going to be on Coast RTA's back of why they didn't get funded in the future budget."

No one present at tonight's meeting would speak on camera, but this statement in part was released from the Interim General Manager:

"We are appreciative that Horry County Council granted Coast RTA the extension requested in regards to the Funding Agreement for fiscal year 2015. Coast RTA is committed to completing each of the outstanding items in a timely manner or addressing items once the new General Manager comes aboard."

Now Lazarus says the council is scheduled to meet Brian Piascik, the recommended new hire for the General Manager position for Coast RTA on April 30th at the County's Admin Meeting.

You may remember council was upset when they found out about the new hire when a press release was sent out.

Under their funding agreement, the person hired was supposed to be approved by council to ensure the candidate was qualified to handled the position. 

County funding for the public transportation system is under close scrutiny right now amid funding concerns.

Coast RTA is still in hot water with Horry County Council for not completing the tasks, like a forensic audit, that are part of their funding agreement.

The County even withheld the last quarterly payment to the agency for $263,000.

In an 8 to 3 vote Tuesday night, County council members approved to allow the last payment only because they did not want to see Coast RTA layoff workers and services shutdown because of lack of funding.

A couple of items with the new CEO coming in eventually on a planning aspect that person should be responsible for those but as far as the forensic audit, and other items those need to be answered prior to this next budget being set.

Funding is already allocated for Coast RTA, to receive another million dollars in funding for next year, and Lazarus said if the terms of their funding agreement are not completed, there could be some consequences.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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