Audit: State Farmer’s Market Needs Strategy Making More Cash

August 29, 2015 Admin Money

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – An audit by the Legal Audit Council found that the State Farmers Market requires to cultivate a strategy to make more cash. They say that the marketplace can not sustain itself if it continues with the status quo.The report keeps in mind the market has received $300,000 dollars a year from the basic assembly to fulfill its operational requirements considering that fiscal year 2013/14. Auditor Marcia Lindsay tells News 19, “Our remark to that was that they should have been capitalizing on other incomes, earnings streams other than going to the general assembly and requesting for cash.”

The audit also discovered that virtually 70 percent of the land was not being used, numerous leases werent in written contracts and there are no records of some payments. Lindsay states, “We asked the department of agriculture for these rental payments from these tenants of what we call lot 25, it’s the structures out there, were made and no documentation was provided.”

The Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Hugh Weathers, fired back at the council in his evaluation of the report saying auditors went into the investigation with preconceived negative” sensations that tainted their conclusions and ” that their inadequate reality gathering cause incorrect conclusions. Lindsay states, “We considered anything the department provided us and anything that required a modification, we changed.

The council provided a number of suggestions on the best ways to improve profits stream and operations. Those suggestions include, “making certain lease contracts consist of particular info on when rental payments need to be made and option … if rental payments are not made on time.” Another suggestion: “The SC Department of Agriculture must make use of the Corbett Building and the cultivation building to produce profits that will certainly assist the market sustain itself.” When it concerns the dining establishment at the marketplace, the council suggests that SCDA “acquire all funds due it per the agreement in between the agency and the restaurant” and “should periodically validate the dining establishment’s profits.” As a source of profits, the audit suggests that SCDA “Charge an admission cost for parking for attendees of special occasions hosted at the Farmers’ Market.” They also suggested they sell advertising on the indicator that will certainly be installed on Hwy 321.

Aaron Wood with the Department of Agriculture, launched this statement: “The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) appreciates the advantages of valid observations, and as noted in our response, we have currently enacted and will certainly continue to enact several of the suggestions consisted of in this report. Obviously, we do not concur with characterizations made in the report. SCDA shares the belief with the general public that openness and accountability are necessary, and that audits are a valuable tool in our system of checks and balances.”

We reached out to a few of the legislators who requested the audit. Representative Ralph Norman informs News 19 that it is discouraging that the market has leases with no contracts and that they have to utilize tax payer dollars making up the difference in income.


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