Interest rates boost county's 2023 revenue


April 13, 2023

Wahkiakum County's finances are in decent shape, Treasurer Tammy Peterson reported to the county board of commissioners on Tuesday.

With the improving economy, interest rates paid on county invested money are also boosting revenue beyond expectations.

In other business, officials discussed the need for a system for department heads and staff to cover advanced expenditures; the board went over bids for a variety of projects, and citizens and commissioners spent 20 minutes discussing policies regarding sport and commercial fishing.

Peterson said county revenue is $449,000 to date, 32 percent of the 2023 budget, and expenditures are at 15 percent. Commissioner Dan Cothren suggested there could be a void in revenue from timber harvest as harvesters delay sales to the third quarter of this year.

The current interest rate paid on investments is 4.757 percent. In 2021, it was as low as 0.086 percent. County investment earnings totaled $15,000 in 2021 and improved to $29,000 in 2022 and are $186,000 so far in 2023.

"I budgeted $165,000 for the year in investment," Peterson said. "If we continue earning a minimum of $40,000 a month, we will be $318,500 over budget."

In a long discussion, department heads reported frustration with policies concerning advance payments. They said policies and limits on credit/debit card use often get in the way of normal purchases or advance payment for lodging at out of town meetings and trainings.

Peterson said she has been looking for a way to upgrade the county's policies, but it's a complicated process.

"I'm working on it," she said. "Bear with me."

Commissioners started the meeting with discussion of public comments regarding use of fish traps, sale of salmon, the local economic value of sport fishing seasons such as the just-finished spring salmon season, unseen financial contributions to the county's economy by commercial fishermen who bring in money from other areas; the potential for seasons to be reduced because so many hatchery fish go unharvested by the sport fishery, and the location of fish traps as agencies study their possible return to accepted harvest methods.


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