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Reinvestment will up county fund revenues

By By ANNA M. LEE Assistant Editor
The Escambia County Commission reinvested $900,000 last month to increase earnings for the county's general fund.
The money invested is part of an oil and gas trust fund created in 1984.
The trust is funded by money from the oil and gas production privilege tax which is applied to any oil and natural gas produced with in the county.
When the trust was opened in 1984 it held $4 million. Now it has grown to nearly $7 million, but only 20 percent is available to be invested by the county, said Tony Sanks, Escambia County administrator.
When the county decided to reinvest the money, South Alabama Trust Company, the county's managing agent for the trust fund, solicited bids from county banks, compared the offers and then made a recommendation to the county commission, said Dan Britton of South Alabama Trust Company.
BankTrust won the bid to reinvest the $900,000 at 2.375 percent interest for 24 months.
Before the reinvestment, the money was in a money market account earning .76 percent interest.
This year the investment will earn $21,375 in interest, Sanks said.
The county chose to invest the money for two years because interest rates are expected to go up after that time and there may be a chance to reinvest the money at a higher rate, Britton said.
Money in the county's general fund helps support the sheriff's department, the county jail, the tax assessor, the tax collector, the judge of probate and the county commission.