In the interest of protecting Liberty Township’s investments, the fiscal officer wants to adopt an investment policy for the township.
“Looking back through the files, … I couldn’t find anything where there had ever been an investment policy for the township,” said Fiscal Officer Nancy Denutte. “We need something for the protection of all of us, to show the township that we considered it and this is what we decided to do.”
Denutte began the discussion during a special meeting July 27, when she presented a standard investment policy to trustees. Trustee Melanie Leneghan tabled the policy due to disagreements among elected officials over the resolution’s language.
The resolution stated the measure needed to be passed as an emergency. Trustee Tom Mitchell wanted to know why an emergency measure was necessary. The measure was then tabled.
The discussion continued in Monday’s regular trustee meeting.
“I don’t think anybody ever thought about it before,” Denutte said. “I think it’s prudent to have an investment policy even if it says all you’re allowed to do is put it in STAR Ohio.”
The State Treasury Asset Reserve of Ohio (STAR Ohio) is an investment fund that allows government subdivisions, from municipalities to school districts, to invest funds in a highly rated public investment pool. STAR Ohio has a AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s Global. It is part of the State Treasurer’s Office.
Denutte invited Jason Click, president of public funds of Meeder Investment Management Inc., to discuss developing an investment policy for the township.
“We’ve been the investment advisors to STAR Ohio since 2001,” he said. “We’re the largest investment advisor in the State of Ohio.”
Since the township is a member of STAR Ohio, Mitchell questioned what Meeder could do that STAR could not.
“Within the township area, you are carrying much higher than average balances when you take into account all the townships across the State of Ohio,” he said. “That gives you the ability to seek out individualized investments within your own account as opposed to pooling everything together with STAR Ohio.”
According to Denutte, the township currently has $9 million in total funds, including the operating budget. She said by moving the money to the STAR Ohio account in May, the township almost doubled the amount of interest.
“I think it’s time to consider taking part of that money and investing,” she said.
Click said Meeder wasn’t suggesting that the township stop using STAR Ohio altogether, but instead gave the example of Meeder retaining and managing certain funds for the township to ensure a maximum return. He said the township gained $76,000 in interest on its annual income through STAR Ohio, but it could have gained $113,000 in interest with Meeder.
Mitchell said according to the rules, the township can’t put funds at risk.
Click suggested that the township adopt a policy that include more options, but then could be restricted by the trustees.
Denutte said she was looking at the “what if” side of things at the time.
Trustees only entertained the discussion and agreed to continue to develop an investment policy. No other actions were taken by trustees.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.