Friday November 24 3:13 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Strong Fiscal Health And Financial Management Practices Save County Taxpayers Over $1.5 Million In Interest Costs

PorterCounty-logo.jpg

In a four hour conference call with potential bidders, the Commissioner’s office and County Auditor Vicki Urbanik presented the county’s financial information, answered questions, and within hours provided requested documentation to the bidders that supported their presentation.

Of particular note to the potential bidders was the county’s strong liquidity. This included the turnaround in the county general fund from a near zero reserve in 2013 to a $3.7 million reserve in 2016, a $2 million reserve in the county’s Local Income Tax (LIT) fund, and the nearly $150 million from the hospital sale held and invested by the Porter County Government Foundation. The one year operational reserve held by the county Department of Development & Stormwater gave additional credence to the bidders on the Stormwater bond issue. Additional factors considered were the healthy local Porter County economy and county government’s AA- Standard & Poors credit rating, which reflects that the county has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments.

“First and foremost, we are accountable to the taxpayers of Porter County to be good stewards of their money,” said Jeff Good, President of the Board of Commissioners. “When the bond market shows this much confidence in county government’s finances, it not only saves us interest money but also sends a strong message to the taxpayers that we are managing their money well.”

The county’s financial management practices also gave positive assurance to the bidders. Better management of the county health insurance plan, conversion to the recently acquired LOW accounting system, a favorable audit report by the Indiana State Board Of Accounts, and the overall financial transparency of Porter County government were acknowledged by the bidders.

“Working together with the Commissioners and Council, we have taken a much more proactive approach in our fiscal management practices in recent years,” Urbanik said. “For example, additional appropriations are being kept to a minimum, and internal controls have tightened. We are fully appropriating our known costs, and we’ve improved cash flow practices. The end result has been enhanced transparency in our financial records and accounting practices, definitely a win-win for taxpayers.”

The $20 million stormwater bond offering drew 6 bidders, with the lowest and winning bidder offering a 3.00% NIC rate. The county initially estimated a rate of around 3.25%, resulting in a potential interest savings of approximately $730,000 and reduced annual bond payments. The $30 million capital upgrade bond offering drew 5 bidders, with the lowest and winning bidder offering a 2.88% NIC rate. The county initially estimated a rate of around 3.25%, resulting in a potential interest savings of approximately $845,000 and reduced annual bond payments.

“Once again, this demonstrates that we can accomplish great things when everyone in county government is working together to benefit our taxpayers,” said Good.