Spokane County, WA – Michael Baumgartner, the Treasurer of Spokane County, released his 2019 Year in Review report today detailing key data in the office’s core functions, collecting, safeguarding and investing the public funds. Highlights include a property tax collection rate of 99.27% and earnings of nearly $30 million for local school and public entities from the Treasurer managed Spokane Public Investment Fund. The Review also highlights the impact of speeding up Bigelow Gulch road construction through a Local Direct Investment loan the Treasurer made to Spokane County Public Works.
“The Year in Review report is part of my effort to increase public understanding of what our office does and how we performed,” saidBaumgartner. “We work for the public, and as stewards of their hard-earned tax dollars, it is important that we reach out and report to our“bosses” what and how we did over the last year.”
Baumgartner became Treasurer in January of 2019 after eight years serving as a State Senator. Since taking he has placed an emphasison educating the public about the Treasurer managed $1.3 Billion Spokane Public Investment Fund (SPIF) and improving its performance. After taxes andfees the SPIF, which invests in fixed-income debt instruments like US Treasury Bonds, is the single largest source of income for local schools and other public entities.
“This year we took the first steps to strengthen our asset base to increase yield and diversify risk by beginning to purchase corporate debt from highly-rated companies like Apple and Microsoft and through purchasing supranational debt for entities like the World Bank,” said Baumgartner. “US Government backed securities remain the bedrock of the fund.”
Baumgartner also highlighted the impact of the Treasurer’s Local Direct Investment (LDI) program. Through LDI’s, the Treasurer canmake loans to the more than 80 local public entities for which the Office provides banking services.
“LDI loans are “win-win” that save the public money,” stated Baumgartner. “We keep local money working here at home by safely financing important projects at a rate below the open market, but above what a comparable U.S. Treasury note would pay.”
“I am pleased to share this 2019 review with the public and encourage the citizens of Spokane County to learn more about how their Treasurer collects, safeguards and invests their tax dollars.” Added Baumgartner.