WMFR agrees on investments, explores consolidating with 2 districts

Money begets more money, or at least that’s what West Manatee Fire Rescue commissioners hope.

With almost $5.5 million of carryover money from the 2016-17 fiscal year bolstering finances, WMFR will invest in the Florida Cooperative Liquid Assets Securities System — also known as FLCLASS — an independent government investment pool.

FLCLASS marketing director Matthew Tight spoke June 19 at the meeting of the WMFR Board of Commissioners about investing in the pool.

A local government investment pool is like a mutual fund, but is exempt from registration and regulation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This grants LGIP’s greater flexibility at the cost of investor protection — the pools are not insured or guaranteed.

Tight said WMFR could invest any amount of money, as well as open any number of accounts and subaccounts.

He also informed the commissioners they can immediately withdraw any and all money invested.

Commissioner David Bishop asked how assets in the pool are kept liquid while remaining profitable.

Tight said FLCLASS only pursues “short, high-quality investments.”

Chair Larry Jennis asked how the pool became successful in a short amount of time — FLCLASS was incepted in 2015.

Tight said it is the second-largest in the state because of its emphasis on involvement with local government.

Bishop made a motion to approve the investment, which was seconded by Vice Chair Al Robinson and unanimously passed by the board.

The commissioners’ next decision was on the amount to invest.

After some discussion, the commission voted 4-1 for a motion to invest $2 million from reserves and $330,000 from impact fees. Only Chair Larry Jennis voted “no.”

In other business, a portion of the meeting was spent discussing potential mergers with the Cedar Hammock and Southern Manatee fire rescue districts.

Commissioner George Harris raised the issue, asking for permission to explore potential mergers.

“My thought is to at least shake the bushes and see if there is any interest,” he said.

After some discussion, Jennis proposed making Harris the liaison to the other fire rescue boards.

Harris will explore whether Cedar Hammock or Southern Manatee are interested in a merger and will bring back his findings to the WMFR board.

The next commission meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at the administration building, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *