Several Richland County elected officials have announced they oppose a proposal to switch to a two-year county budget cycle.
Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Coroner Gary Watts, among other officials, sent a letter dated Friday to Richland County Council, highlighting several reasons why they’re opposed to a biennial budget.
They noted a biennial budget violates state law. They also said that kind of approach binds future elected officials with a budget they had no say in.
Officials also stressed that economic and social conditions fluctuate from year to year – noting damage from Hurricane Matthew and the October 2015 floods as examples. They said biennial budgeting erodes transparency.
“By adopting a biennial budget, council would be silencing the citizens of Richland County and would deny them the right to timely comment on basic needs and services,” the letter stated. “As elected officials of Richland County, we implore council to comply with the law and allow for meaningful discourse through the continued operation of an annual budgetary process.”
Greenville County has operated on a two-year budget cycle since the 1990s, under the direction of now-interim Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals. He was serving as Greenville County administrator at the time that cycle was in effect.