The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 18, 2010

Board of Selectmen to create investment advisory committee

In tough economic times, even the most conservative person reconsiders the risk/gain ratio. Town Treasurer Larry Barton, a self-proclaimed “conservative” when it comes to Carlisle’s finances, has taken a closer look at existing trusts and believes the town can do better than the 0.04% many funds are currently realizing. He presented his findings to the Carlisle Board of Selectmen (BOS) at the group’s June 8 meeting.

Barton later described some of the town funds which might benefit from new investment strategies, “The town has 16 trust funds set up by bequests to the community.” At the end of May, they represented a total of $737,520, of which the principal is $185,820 and the rest represents accumulated earnings available for distribution. The Affordable Housing Trust has an additional $561,656. He listed four other funds: the Perpetual Care Fund, the Stabilization Fund, Conservation Fund and Vivian Chaput Memorial Fund, with varying balances. Added together, along with other town accounts, Barton estimates the funds for investment total roughly $2.5 million.

“The challenge I have is chasing a rate. At what time do I jump into equity markets and look like a hero or look like a goat?” Barton concluded, “If I took it upon myself, there are going to be years that you are going to lose money. I don’t know how comfortable the town is with that.” Barton prioritized the responsibility of the treasurer’s office regarding trust funds: 1. safety of the principal, 2. liquidity of the funds, 3. yield.

BOS Chair John Williams believes the time is right for the town to reconsider its investment policy. After writing a charter for the new committee, he will call on town volunteers with financial expertise to step up and share their ideas. Williams also believes that gaining a better awareness of the funds and what they are for, might lead the board to use a portion of the funds “in these difficult times.” He also added that the town should investigate raising more money. “I think it makes all the sense in the world to get a group together to come up with a better investment policy statement for funds,” concluded Williams. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito