Investing options for HCI mulled
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Oct 10, 2013 | 1043 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County finance committee is pursuing information for options in reinvesting Healthy Community Initiative funds to increase the interest gained each year.

If a higher-interest investment can be approved , it would mean more available funds each year for the Bradley County HCI grants. These grants use only the interest from the county’s portion of funds from the 2005 sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital.

How the funds can be invested is limited by state law because it is from the sale of a county asset, according to Bradley County Attorney Crystal Freiberg.

“The comptroller’s office is also going to have to approve anything that is ... beyond five years,” Freiberg said. “I can’t imagine they would give us approval outside of anything that the state law [allows].”

Any changes not in line with state law would have to go through Chancery Court.

Finance committee chairman Ed Elkins questioned whether the hospital had truly been a county asset.

“The county did a bond and then there was a board that oversaw the operation of the hospital. The bonds were paid off from the revenue that was derived from the hospital,” Elkins said. “I don’t know that the hospital was every truly an asset of Bradley County.”

Elkins said if it had been, then the entire amount of revenue from the sale would have gone to the county. The funds from the sale were divided between Bradley County and the United Way.

Freiberg said the same state laws would apply because the money would be classified as “idle county funds.”

“Under current law, we are doing as well as we can, as far as investments,” Trustee Mike Smith said. “The problem is nobody is getting a lot of interest right now.”

He said compared to other counties, Bradley is doing well with interest return.

Smith said the portion of the sale that went to the United Way has brought the charitable organization more interest because it can put the funds in higher-interest, riskier investments than the county can.

Elkins asked committee member Jeff Morelock to look into the issue further and bring a report back to the committee.

Also during the meeting the committee approved an amendment to move reserve funds to misdemeanor probation to fund a new position. The position had already been discussed with the County Commission and is expected to generate more revenue.

A Bradley County Fire-Rescue donation from Walmart and an HCI to Bradley County Emergency Medical Service were accepted.

An amendment to pay University of Tennessee for UT Extension of Bradley County salaries was also approved.

Finance director Lynn Burns said an invoice from UT had been emailed to an employee who no longer works in her office. The invoice had not been paid before the end of the fiscal year. Therefore, the money went into the county’s general fund.

The committee postponed making a decision on a Bradley County Fire-Rescue amendment to accept an arson payment.

Freiberg said the arson money sounded like a “restitution” payment to BCFR.

Elkins said he wanted to delay the decision because of the increase in expenses listed in the amendment.

A BCSO amendment was delayed because it was to fund a new position in the drug fund.

Committee member Mel Griffith made a motion to postpone a decision, so the committee could get more information.