County might give more to Lander rebuild

Nov 10, 2013 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Fremont County Treasurer Scott Harnsberger says he wants to move $380,000 from the county's investment pool into 18 county accounts, including $140,000 for the general fund. The move would even out a discrepancy in how the investment pool paid interest to internal and external funds, he said.

The Fremont County Commission must sign off on the moves.

Harnsberger said the transfers were to pay interest to 18 accounts under the commission that contribute money to the investment pool. Along with those "internal funds," "external funds," such as school districts, provide money to the investment pool.

The Treasurer's Office invests the money in the pool, which receives interest from those investments. Harnsberger has been returning those gains to the accounts investing in the pool through two different methods.

Over time, external funds were receiving proportionally more money.

The treasurer said he had been paying an annual rate of return to external funds. He would set an interest rate each month based on the returns the pool was receiving and multiply that rate by each external fund's investment in the pool to produce an amount to return to that fund.

For internal funds, Harnsberger would allocate the interest the investment pool earned proportional to the size of each internal fund.

He start with the total amount of interest the investment pool received. Then, he would figure out what proportion of the money in the investment pool each internal fund contributed.

He would multiply that ratio by the interest the investment pool to find what each internal fund would receive.

Over time, the two methods of calculating returns led to external funds receiving a higher rate of return. He said the new move would make up for the difference over the past year and "equalize=" the external and internal funds.

Harnsberger plans to use a method similar to the one he uses for external funds for the internal funds from now on so a discrepancy should not arise again.

The new money added to the general fund would allow the county board to comfortably give some funds to the Lander Community Center, Commissioner Stephanie Kessler said. She said she would suggest contributing $50,000 to the construction project.

Harnsberger, in an interview, said his decision to transfer money out of the investment pool was unrelated to discussions about funding the community center and thought commissioners should look at more than one source of revenue and one possible expense.

"There may be $138,000 transferred into (the general) fund, but our projected sales tax revenue may be $138,000 less (by the end of the year)," he said. "They can't just look at that one number and say 'we've got more money to spend,' they need to look at the whole revenue picture before making that determination."

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