MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW)- The vote on a property tax increase to fund the Murrells Inlet Garden-City Fire District has been postponed indefinitely due to the fact the district has not done a financial audit since 2014. Senator Stephen Goldfinch said that’s illegal.
News 13 spoke to George Oldroyd who said the problem started in 2015 after an employee died and they found out that person was embezzling money from the district. They had to immediately find someone to take over the books and they said that person did not accomplish what they were supposed to.
“The statute clearly says they have to perform an audit every single year and that audit has to be turned over to the respective counties. That’s Horry and Georgetown Coutnies,” said Senator Stephen Goldfinch.
The district does not have official financial records for the last three years and their last audit was 2014. News 13 asked who is responsible to hold the board accountable.
“The board is the only people that are responsible for actually insuring that the board does their audit. It is very concerning I think that’s why the delegation needs to be know when those audits are being done and what those audits look like,” said Goldfinch.
Senator Goldfinch said he’s asking the district to mandate that their bylaws say they will produce that audit to the delegation of Horry and Georgetown counties. George Oldroyd said they’ve never had bylaws, but he has written a draft that is being reviewed by an attorney and expects to have Senator Goldfinch’s request in them.
“In the future we’ll know when those audits are or are not done so we can take corrective action immediately instead of going two, three, four years,” said Goldfinch.
Board members tell me they want to get the audit done and respect the public’s right to know. They held a special called meeting yesterday where they made a motion to remove who currently is in charge of the books and give the responsibility to the administrative assistant. They will also hire an outside party to come in and sign off on the books.
“We have to follow the law. Period end of story. We love firefighters, but we have to follow the law and we have to make sure tax payer dollars are spend appropriately,” said Goldfinch.
Goldfinch said the audit could be done by the spring time, but for now the vote is indefinitely postponed in Horry and Georgetown counties.