Tybee tax mess; city facing accounting issues - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tybee tax mess; city facing accounting issues

The Tybee City Council is working to untangle a financial quagmire years in the making. Although no money is missing, hundreds of thousands of dollars were appropriated to the wrong fund.

An estimated $850,000 that's supposed to be in Tybee's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) account was transferred to the general fund.  The issue is that the Special Purpose fund is just that – for a special purpose --  capital projects like buildings and roads approved by voters when they cast their ballots for the tax.

Thursday, Tybee's auditor briefed council on the issue, which was discovered by the city's finance director, Angel Hudson, when she took the job last fall.

Tybee has the money to re-pay that SPLOST fund. The city currently has about $4.5 million in reserves, enough to fund operations for about four months.

Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman said he's glad the $850,000 never was spent.

"Then we would've been in violation of SPLOST law," he said. "And we are not in violation of that. But had we not caught it, say five years from now, somebody from the state or the county come upon this, it would've been a problem."

Council members and city staff things the issue dates back to 2008 at least – and continued to be a problem until Hudson took over. The City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday night to re-pay some of those funds, but it could take months to get the books completely straight.

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