State has withheld money from Atlantic Beach for 7 years

The South Carolina Treasurer's Office has been withholding revenue from the town of Atlantic Beach for seven years. That amount has totaled nearly $40,000.

The reason? The town has not filed an audit since 2006.

WPDE NewsChannel 15 also learned that Atlantic Beach owes the South Carolina Retirement fund almost $45,000.

If Atlantic Beach turned in all eight years of missed audits, they could not retrieve the money the state has withheld. It would go directly to the retirement fund.

Atlantic Beach held a meeting Monday evening and WPDE NewsChannel 15 went to Mayor Retha Pierce for answers on the town's financial status.

"I'm not responsible for the finances," said Mayor Pierce.

We also asked Pierce where the $45,000 has gone, if not to the retirement fund.

"We have been getting reports that certain money has not made it where it's supposed to make it to over the years, yes," said Pierce.

WPDE NewsChannel 15 obtained an email through the South Carolina Freedom Of Information Act, from the town's accountant to Atlantic Beach.

It reads as follows: "We're approaching eight years without audits, I believe this leads others to believe that the Town is not able to perform it's duties as required by law, and I'm afraid that the state is going to step in and do something about it," said town accountant, Kimberly Vinson.

Councilwoman Carolyn Cole says it may be time for the town to throw in the towel.

"If you're not going to be accountable and held to the same standard as the rest of the municipalities in this state, then it is time for us to be honest with these taxpayers and stop jerking them around and tell them we are not prepared to be a municipality," said Cole.