Jeffco on track for $7 million in investment income in 2009

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By AJ Vicens

Jefferson County is on track to earn about a 2.6 percent return on nearly $270 million in investments in 2009, according to the county's investment manager.

Mark Hubbard told the county commissioners Oct. 27 that the county had earned $6.13 million on $267.9 million in investments through Sept. 30, and that it would finish "just a smidge" over $7 million by the end of the year.

The biggest chunk of county investment money is invested in Federal Home Loan Bank funds, to the tune of more than $73 million.

About $61 million invested in Freddie Mac marks the second-highest single investment. Hubbard said that number will be down about $30 million by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Roughly $41.1 million invested in bank savings accounts rounds out the top three.

The county has cut its bank savings account investment in half since the end of June, when more than $89 million was spread between several bank savings accounts.

Jeffco Treasurer Tim Kauffman said the plan is to invest in short-term investments right now as rates continue to stay low, so the county will be better positioned to invest if rates begin to rise.

"If we take our lumps now, then we're ready to ride it as we go up," Kauffman said. "It's better than locking into something long-term now."

Hubbard said the county is earning as much as it can considering the relatively low interest rates.

"Rates are down, and they're likely to stay down for another year," Hubbard said, adding that economic signals remain "somewhat mixed."

"People are saying the recession is over, but the effects are not," Hubbard said. Rising unemployment is an economic drag, but the housing market is beginning to turn around, he said.

"I guess you can say we've turned a corner," Hubbard said, "but we're not skyrocketing to recovery."

Kauffman apologized in jest to the commission for not having more stimulating information to offer them — like Sheriff Ted Mink had in a previous meeting that day.

"I don't have sexy stories like the sheriff can relate," Kauffman said.

Commissioner Kathy Hartman said she prefers it that way.

"We don't want 'sexy' stories out of the treasurer," Hartman said. "Exciting is not something we want out of the treasurer."

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.