Clerk, tax collector join forces to save taxpayers money

Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock and Tax Collector Anne Gannon announced on Tuesday a partnership they say will save taxpayers money at a critical time.

The clerk’s office will take over the tax collector’s $100 million investment portfolio in hopes of delivering the kind of returns Bock’s staff has yielded for the county for years. Last year, for example, earned income on the clerk’s own investment portfolio saved each county taxpayer $121, according to the joint announcement.

Gannon’s office had been investing its portfolio in a bank money market. But when the fund custodian notified the tax collector’s staff that it would have to start charging fees, Gannon decided it was time to use Bock’s trained and experienced staff to manage the accounts starting this month.

Palm Beach County’s investment portfolio, managed by the clerk’s office, has one of the highest yields among local government in Florida, and consistently earns top credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, according to Bock’s office.

Bock helped cut operating expenses from the Palm Beach County budget last year by $74 million, using the interest income from the investments.

“It made perfect sense to transfer our funds from a bank that was going to charge us fees to Clerk Bock and her team to manage our portfolio, earn a better return, and help save even more taxpayer money,” Gannon said. “Clerk Bock and her investment professionals have done an impressive job of managing the county’s portfolio and making money for Palm Beach County, at a time when it’s difficult for anyone to make money on investments.”

The clerk’s office, which also manages investment portfolios for the Sheriff’s Office and the Housing Finance Authority, serves as the county’s chief financial officer, treasurer and auditor. Both Bock and Gannon are elected constitutional officers and answer directly to the public.

“Partnerships such as these are another example of how cooperation between government agencies can benefit taxpayers,” Bock said in Tuesday’s press release on the joint effort.

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