Steamboat Springs Routt County now has a written policy to govern its investments and maximize revenues.
About $27 million in tax revenues passed through the treasurer's office last year, and $29 million is expected to come through this year. Seventy-five percent of that money is sent on to special districts right away; the rest is retained for different periods of time and can be invested.
In other action this week, the Board of County Commissioners: Signed an addendum to an agreement with the Orton Family Foundation to outline specific responsibilities regarding planning software; Signed a resolution adopting the road name Sage Creek Lane off County Road 37, Little Mountain Trail in Hahns Peak and Pleasant Trail in Pleasant Valley; Signed a large lot agreement with Fred Wolf for a secondary unit on his ranch in north Routt County; Appointed north Routt resident Wayne Adamo as an alternate to the Routt County Planning Commission; Signed an agreement with the Colorado State Land Board for the temporary use of land near the C.R. 27 reconstruction project.
County Commissioner Dan Ellison said rather than putting the majority of the county's money in a short-term account at one bank, County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon is diversifying the county's investment opportunities, while still retaining the ability to get her hands on money when needed.
Whiddon said a written investment policy was one of the main goals during her campaign for the office in 1998. She formed an investment advisory committee last May and found an adviser to actively manage the county's investments for maximum yield with safety and liquidity.
The Denver firm AMMA, American Money Management Associates, was hired in January this year and the Board of County Commissioners formally adopted the policy last month. Whiddon said AMMA's area of expertise is making investments for counties and school districts.
"I think it's a big move forward for Routt County. We have an investment policy which guides what we do in a comprehensive manner, and we have AMMA actively managing our portfolio for fewer basis points than the local government pools," Whiddon said.
The county earned a little more than $1 million in interest last year at 4.5 percent.
Whiddon said AMMA is extending some maturities with interest up to 7 percent, but she said it's too hard to predict how much more the county might make this year.
"We don't get much bang for our buck. Everything's very short-term and liquid," Whiddon said. "We'll need to track it for a full year to determine how much we saved."
The policy should allow the county to make the most of its earning potential, according to County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak.
"By bringing an investment adviser on board, we can maximize our investments legally and safely," Stahoviak said.
The policy manages financial assets such as the county's general fund and capital improvement funds. It does not apply to separate funds such as the fair, special investigations or employee retirement plans.
The county's investment objectives are safety, liquidity and yield. The policy restricts investments according to state statute to securities and transactions such as U.S. Treasury bonds, money market mutual funds and certificates of deposit.
The policy is available for public review at the treasurer's office, as are AMMA's monthly reports on the investments.
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