For Immediate Release:
February 10th, 2021
Treasurer’s Office Releases 2020 Year in Review Report: Highlights $22.7 Million Investment Income, Tax Extension Relief, Supporting School Re-Openings
Spokane County, WA – The Spokane County Treasurer’s Office released its 2020 year in review report today highlighting its work in the prior year to collect, safeguard, and invest Spokane County’s public funds. Highlights from the report include returning $22.7 million of investment income supporting local public services, providing taxpayers the longest county property tax extension in the state in response to the pandemic, and a partnership with NEWESD 101 to support in-person school re-openings.
In response to the report release, Treasurer Michael Baumgartner said:
“This report is part of my ongoing public outreach effort to detail how the Treasurer’s Office serves as steward for the citizens’ tax dollars. We work for the public and it’s important to tell them how we did.
The Treasurer’s Office responded to the unparalleled challenges of the pandemic continuing to provide the services the public expects of us. I’m very proud of how our staff performed this year.”
Through the Spokane Public Investment Fund (SPIF) fixed income portfolio, the Treasurer’s Office returned approximately $22.7 million in investment income to area schools and other taxing districts. Investment income supports local public services without raising taxes or fees on the public.
“I am pleased with the SPIF’s earnings despite volatility in the market with the on-set of COVID and the Federal Reserve significantly dropping interest rates. For the year we significantly outperformed our benchmark index,” added Baumgartner.
Utilizing the investment fund’s Local Direct Investment program, the Treasurer’s Office issued a three million dollars public financing in partnership with NEWESD 101 supporting a statewide PPE purchasing pool for resuming in-person learning options for students. Local investments support cash flow, capital improvements, and other public projects while saving taxpayer dollars through affordable loan terms.
“It is great that we were able to play a role in helping kids get back in classrooms throughout the state. Our local loans are discretionary and it is great when we can use them in win-win investments that make a big impact in our community.” said Baumgartner.
Property tax collection is the primary public facing service of the Treasurer’s Office. To provide taxpayer relief, Treasurer Baumgartner authorized an extension of property tax payments totaling one hundred and five additional days to pay without interest or penalty, the longest tax extension of Washington State counties. While offering taxpayers an extension, the Treasurer’s Office maintained an approximately ninety-nine percent collection rate while ensuring government’s obligations continued to be made on time.
“Extending the tax deadline was not an easy decision, but it was the right thing to do to help the public. We needed to adjust the available liquidity in our investment fund and it increased the work load on our office at an already difficult time. I’m very proud of the staff at the Treasurer’s Office for their outstanding performance in a very difficult year and stepping forward to help keep people in their homes while providing some relief for the many in our community facing economic hardship. We know that we saved those in financial distress over one million dollars in penalty and interest charges by extending the deadline.”
“I encourage all citizens to learn more about the functions of our office in the pages of this report. We want to hear your comments, ideas, and questions. Please contact us anytime.”
The full report is available by visiting the Treasurer’s Office website at www.spokanecounty.org/treasurer.