Will County Treasurer Steve Weber, CPA, announced today that his office earned $1.76-million in interest on the county’s investment portfolio in Fiscal Year 2012, nearly five-times the amount anticipated in the county’s budget.

“The county’s total cash and investments had a market value of $331-million at the end of our fiscal year,” Weber said, “We have beaten the benchmarks we use to measure performance for 20 consecutive months.”

Smarter and Safer Strategy

Since being elected County Treasurer in 2010, Steve Weber has taken a more pro-active approach to investing the county’s cash holdings. He hired the county’s first full-time Chief Investment Officer shortly after taking office, and implemented a new approach to the county’s investments.

“The county had its money in CDs and cash when I took office,” Weber said, “That mixture generated very little return—basically, the office took what the banks gave us. Our new Chief Investment Officer restructured the portfolio over a 10-month period and safely boosted our investment earnings.”

“We invest the county’s money in a broad range of safe investments such as Treasury Bonds, Municipal Bonds, and other fixed income products. All of our investments are analyzed for safety and security first, then performance. We will never put taxpayer money into risky investments.”

Other changes include:

  • A new investment policy to allow a broader range of investment tools,
  • Financial Benchmark to measure performance and set accountability,
  • Quarterly review of bank reports to insure the safety of county deposits,
  • Investments in municipal bonds of local school districts, park districts, and Will County communities, and
  • A new law allowing Illinois counties to deposit funds with local credit unions.

Building a Rainy Day Fund

When the county collects property taxes, the Treasurer’s Office structures investments for months when the county receives no property tax payments. The result is a more stable and predictable revenue stream that allows the county to pay its bills in a timelier manner.

Now in the second year of this strategy, the Treasurer’s Office has built a $35-million reserve to cover unexpected expenses. It does not mean the county has more money than is necessary to operate, it means the Treasurer’s Office has cash to match a budgetary reserve maintained by the County’s Finance Department.

“Our goal for Fiscal Year 2013 is to realize an additional $15-million in reserve funds,” Weber said, “It will bring our actual investment reserve in line with the $50-million budgetary reserve.”

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