By Paul Gable
After Tuesday’s Horry County Council budget workshop, Coast RTA was still on track to receive $1.055 million in grant funding for next fiscal year from Horry County.
Council member Marion Foxworth presented a synopsis of the findings of the Select Committee on Coast RTA, which council chairman Mark Lazarus appointed and Foxworth chaired.
Foxworth said the Select Committee voted unanimously and was adamant in recommending to continue the county’s commitment to public transportation and the taxpayers who pay for the grant.
“The need (for funding) is still there and we need to do what we can to meet that need,” Foxworth told his fellow council members.
Foxworth noted that the bulk of the fault for the failed projects that the Select Committee studied lay with Coast RTA, both project management and the Coast RTA board. He also noted how the Coast RTA board had moved to correct project management mistakes (by firing former General Manager Myers Rollins) and pledged better oversight of the management of the bus agency.
Council members Harold Worley and Bob Grabowski supported continuing to fund Coast RTA with quarterly grants, as the county is currently doing, with strong coordination between the Horry County Block Development Grant office and Coast RTA finance.
There has never been any mention that Coast RTA has spent county grant money in any way other than that for which it is intended, basically operations expenses. But, after the controversy over Coast RTA’s mishandling of federal grants associated with a bus shelter project and intermodal center study project, the Select Committee was formed.
Full Coast RTA funding ($1.055 million) was included in the first reading of the county budget ordinance for FY 2014-15. The budget ordinance must pass two more readings from county council before it becomes law. However, barring something very unforeseen arising between now and third reading, it appears the county will maintain Coast RTA’s level of funding approved in an advisory referendum by county voters in 2010.