Treasurer's investments bring county $1.3M in interest

Feb. 13—ANDERSON — Since taking office as Madison County treasurer, Danny Girt has used his experience in the private financial sector to increase the amount of interest earned.

Last year, Girt’s choices of investments brought in $1.3 million in interest earnings for the county.

For 2023, Girt said a conservative estimate of interest earnings is $2.5 million, but the amount could surpass $3 million, depending on the interest rate.

When Girt took office in, the county earned $82,812 in interest, which increased to $569,840 in 2019 and close to $1 million in 2020

He explained that in 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.,the interest rate for investments dropped to 0.25%, and the county only earned $165,000 that year.

Girt anticipates the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates twice more this year before there is a decline.

He said the interest rate for a money market account has climbed to 4.5%.

Girt said interest earned goes into specific accounts such asthe county’s Rainy Day and general funds.

County Auditor Rick Gardner said the interest earned in the county’s Rainy Day fund should be enough to cover the costs of the Carl Roy Webb Boards capital punishment case.

Girt said he worked with both First Merchants and Star Bank to get the best interest rate for the county.

The county also has investments in TrustINdiana and a bank in southern Indiana that was paying a higher interest rate last year.

TrustINdiana invests local governmental units’ funds in a common pool of investment assets that preserves the funds’ principal, remains highly liquid and maximizes return on investment.

“I have the investments so that the county never loses the principal amount invested,” he said. “There is nothing invested that we can’t withdraw the next day if necessary.”

Girt said because of the staff in the treasurer’s office that concentrates on tax collections and tax sales, he can work on the county’s investments.

“I can focus on what is taking place that will benefit the county.”

Gardner said the interest earned is used to provide county services and projects.

“The money is working for the taxpayers,” he said. “It’s helpful in many ways.”

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.