March 6, 2018 11:18:33 AM
The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors approved a plan Monday to bring more money into the county coffers by investing some of its general fund in bank certificate of deposits.
The board voted unanimously to allow County Administrator Ralph Billingsley and Chief Financial Officer Lloyd Price to move forward on purchasing three-month and six-month CDs.
The idea emerged a couple of months ago as Billingsley noted the nature of how the county receives its funds presented an opportunity to increase its earnings on those funds. Each year, the county receives the majority of its funds in February when the county tax collector releases funds to the county.
Because that money is used to fund county services throughout the year, much of the money remains in the county's bank account, which earns 1 percent on the deposits.
"What Lloyd and I have been looking into is taking some of the excess funds we have on hand this time of year to see if there was an opportunity to a bank CD," Billingsley said. "We got quotes from local banks on both three-month and six-month CDs so we would have some flexibility."
Cadence Bank offered the best rates of the eight banks that provided quotes -- 1.6 percent on a three-month CD and 1.8 on a six-month CD. In addition, Billingsley said, the Cadence quote provides for a .15 percent increase on the rate should the Federal Reserve increase its rate by .25 percent.
"If we went $6 million in a three-month and $4 million in a six-month and there was no federal rate change, we could earn an additional $25,000 above and beyond what our deposits are currently paying us," Billingsley said.
Billingsley said he and Price want to continue to work on determining exactly how much money to invest in the two ideas.
West Lowndes school facilities
The board also revisited an issue that emerged during its last meeting -- a potential agreement with the Lowndes County School District to use the gym, ball field and cafeteria the old West Lowndes Middle School property, now home to the county's alternative school which will move to the old New Hope vocational center in the fall.
That idea was presented during the Feb. 28 board meeting when LCSD Superintendent Lynn Wright suggested the county could take possession of the property in exchange for $1.5 million in funds to provide equipment for the county's new career tech center, which opens in August.
The supervisors rejected that proposal, but on Monday District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith brought up the subject of the county using the West Lowndes facilities.
"I know we talked about this last meeting and I kind of hate to bring it up again, but I do hope the opportunity we have out there doesn't get lost in all of the other stuff that happened then," Smith said. "It's a good facility and I think it's something that's needed in that part of the county. We should give (Parks director) Roger Short some directions about possibly going forward with the parts of the property we have shown interest in."
Board President Harry Sanders said he agreed the gym, ball field and cafeteria could be good additions to the county's park operations, but he had no interest in purchasing the property, especially the school building itself, which the county would have no use for.
"In previous conversations with Lynn Wright, one of the things I told him that certainly we would be interested in possibly leasing the property to us for a dollar or a minimal amount of money and we would do the maintenance, take care of it and make sure it didn't go into disrepair," Sanders said. "I certainly didn't have any idea that we wanted to buy it."
The board took no action on matter.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]
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