Commission reinvests $1 million at higher rate
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
With the rising costs of fuel and the trickling economical effects caused by Hurricane Katrina, Escambia County Commissioners are looking to reassess some finances and re-invest some of its funds.
Two years ago, the county invested $1 million in a certificate of deposit (CD). Last week, the CD reached its maturity. Since June of 2004, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates 10 times.
Dan Britton is an associate with BancTrust – a trust division of BankTrust – and advisor to the commission for the Oil and Gas Severance Trust. With the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the high gas prices, Britton said that the Federal Reserve is likely to pass on raising interest rates once again.
He told commissioners Monday morning that the rate was good two years ago when the county bought the ticket, but said they should take advantage of the rising interest rates and re-invest the funds.
With rising interest rates working in the county's favor, Britton said it would be in the best interest to consider a new offer and re-invest the ticket to the Escambia County Bank for 18 months at a fixed rate of 4.25 percent, where previously, the CD had earned the county 2.25 percent. Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of allowing Britton to re-invest the ticket.
Other roads to be paved
According to Chairman Larry White, ADECA has verbally committed to a grant that would add to the total amount for the road repaving projects funded by the Hurricane Ivan recovery grant.
The county applied for a $1.3 million grant that would assist in the repaving and drainage projects currently underway. Due to the high level of traffic from people evacuating from Hurricane Ivan and the trucks hauling debris, two roads have been added to the project but will not be included in this year's repaving project. Technically classified under partial reconstruction, Travis Road in Atmore and Wildfork Road will be added to the project once commissioners receive a written commitment from ADECA.
Domestic violence grants
In other county news, commissioners approved the renewal of a Domestic Violence Grant the county has had for several years. Last week, Gov. Bob Riley awarded $91,035 to the county to help reduce domestic violence and assist victims. The grant will allow the Domestic Crime Unit to continue investigating and prosecuting domestic violence cases and offering support services to victims and non-offending family members by providing one full time prosecutor as well as two deputy investigators to work on a case.
The unit provides training for law enforcement officers, investigators, probation officers and court personnel regarding domestic violence laws, prosecution policies and proper response to situations of domestic violence.
Staff members support victims during court proceedings and refer victims to job training agencies, stress management programs and other available assistance. The unit works closely with law enforcement agencies, health care providers and victim services organizations to coordinate services for victims.
Riley awarded the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant.