Spring is already here and with the renewal of the trees and plants, and in keeping up with the rhythm of the seasons, I found it the perfect time to update citizens on fresh news in the treasury.
On April 9 I did a presentation to the county commissioners at their regular Monday meeting to provide an update on Ellis County’s finances. Since taking office in October, one of the new practices I have implemented is consistent investment of “idle funds,” (money not currently being tapped for county expenses). My goal was to increase interest income on those funds.
In the first quarter of 2018, which includes December, January and February, the treasury earned more than $78,000 in interest income. The income earned this year already has exceeded the annual totals for each year of the prior seven years. Based on the first quarter’s earnings and my purposeful investment strategy, I estimate Ellis County will earn more than a quarter of a million dollars in “interest income” alone in 2018.
It is important to note interest rates on our accounts. For the past five years, they have been stagnant, ranging from .02 to .05 percent. That is not 5 percent or 2 percent, but .02 and .05 percent. I have secured interest income for the county because, and only because, I have taken the initiative to make investments at every possible moment, not leaving any funds “un-invested.” The competition generated by soliciting bids from local banking institutions since I took office got them competing to the tune of 1 to 1.4 percent, versus if I would have simply accepted the standard .02 to .05 percent. First quarter interest earnings for Ellis County illustrate the value of proactive account management, and I look forward to producing even greater return on our investments in the future.
In other news, in January 2018, I solicited proposals and gathered information from banks upon examining Ellis County’s investment potential. Due to comparing the county’s banking fees with other treasuries across Kansas, I made this a top priority. Two objectives I set forth with the new banking proposal were to increase interest income and decrease monthly banking fees; the process was successful on both fronts. I sent out banking requests for proposals (RFPs) this winter, and have since been grateful to have met and worked with the banking executives in Ellis County. On May 1, I awarded Astra Bank the opportunity to be the banking institution that handles the county’s main operating accounts. (These are the active accounts, and different from idle fund investment accounts). I was drawn to the adaptability of Astra’s qualified staff and various services to meet the county’s required banking needs at the best cost-value to the county.
I am happy and grateful to work for Ellis County citizens, and I enjoy the challenges that come with the responsibilities of being your treasurer. Make it a good spring, and be glad you are part of such a great county and country as ours.
Ellis County Treasurer