WB passes investment policy

By: Eric Czarnik | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 28, 2013

WEST BLOOMFIELD — After investing much time into it, the township Board of Trustees adopted a revised investment policy in March.

At a March 18 meeting, the board voted 6-1 to approve the policy, which governs what sort of investments the treasurer can allocate township funds toward. The sole dissenter was Treasurer Teri Weingarden.

In the past couple of months, township officials have been discussing a need to change the investment policy. Officials recently sold a $2.86 million investment after concluding that it was incongruent with the township’s policy, and they took the opportunity to revise the investment policy.

Before the final vote, the board’s proposal would have banned investments that have premiums attached, but that was later removed. The new proposal bans the treasurer from using surplus funds on a list of investments, including investments that pool mortgages, such as collateralized mortgage obligations and real estate mortgage investment conduits, or REMICs.

In addition, the revisions require the treasurer to submit quarterly investment reports to the board; the report must include a market summary, investment descriptions and the average quarterly rates of return. The policy also requires quarterly cash flow reports and an annual investment report.

The township board agreed to eliminate the part of the proposal that would forbid choosing investments that have premiums.

“Many investments, excellent investments, might be purchased at slight premiums,” Trustee Larry Brown said. “What will happen is that we are going to lock out our chances of having the ability to go out and to purchase certain things at premium.”

Trustee Howard Rosenberg said he wasn’t bothered by the premium issue but was concerned about restricting certain types of investments.

While Weingarden said she has no problem issuing reports in 2013, she doesn’t feel that putting deadlines on filing quarterly reports is appropriate in the policy. She also said some of the other items listed are not necessary.

“Going back to the cash flow report, I’m not aware of any other treasurer that provides such a report,” she added.

Weingarden bristled against any implication that she wasn’t turning in her investment reports on time, and she said she wants to clear her name.

“I’m getting sick of being blatantly insulted at public meetings and have it inferred that I am late on my reports,” she said. “I have never been late on my reports.”

Rosenberg said it is essential that the township know its rate of return and its cash flow. “We’re not accusing you of not doing your job,” he said. “We’re just asking you to provide us this information that the public needs.”

Find out more about West Bloomfield by calling (248) 451-4800, or visit www.wbtwp.com.