News

Norfolk puts revenue to work

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE - 

Norfolk County generated some pin money for itself last year by making your tax dollars work a little harder.

By moving its money in and out of investment vehicles as the opportunities presented themselves, Norfolk wrung out an extra $183,765 in revenue in 2016.

“As the result of careful monitoring of daily cash flow requirements and investing surplus funds, staff was able to generate additional investment income for the county despite the fact that interest rates in recent times have been at record lows,” Kathy Laplante, Norfolk’s manager of financial planning and reporting, says in a report to council.

Total earnings last year from short-term investing came to $283,140. Net earnings of $183,765 represents the difference between engaging in short-term investing and just leaving surplus funds to collect minimal interest in a savings account.

How much Norfolk ties up in short-term investments depends on when major expenditures come due. The latter include quarterly school board payments, capital projects, payroll and the like.

How much Norfolk ties up varies greatly at any given moment. On Dec. 31, 2016, Norfolk had $11.1 million invested in short-term vehicles.

On Dec. 31, 2015, the corresponding figure was $21.8 million. On Dec. 31, 2014, it was $24.7 million.

Norfolk’s short-term investment program is not to be confused with the county’s Legacy Fund investment program.

The $67-million Legacy Fund represents Norfolk County’s take from the sale of the Norfolk Power electrical utility to Hydro One several years ago.

This money is managed separate and distinct from other county assets because Norfolk council is committed to a policy of preserving the principal from this fund.

The Legacy Fund is also managed conservatively and generated a total of $2.9 million in revenue in 2016. Council has largely spent revenue from the Legacy Fund on infrastructure and sees this income as a potential means of keeping annual tax increases at modest levels.

Norfolk council has been on summer break since July 11. Council returns to its regular cycle of meetings Tuesday, Aug. 15. Laplante’s report will be tabled at this meeting.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com