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Supervisors investing tobacco settlement money into an endowment trust account

March 20, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors decided to invest more than $20 million in tobacco settlement money into a flexible endowment trust account at its meeting Tuesday.

States got more than $200 billion from tobacco companies in a settlement three years ago as reimbursement for Medicaid money spent on smoking-related illnesses. But many states and county governments are using part of the money for non-health care related purposes.

An endowment trust account would be the most flexible, Assistant County Executive Officer Robertta Burns said.

The money will go into a trust account with a trustee managing it. But the county will control where it is invested, Burns said.

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The interest earned and principle paid could be transferred to the county. The trust gives the county an estimated total revenue stream of about $64 million over 30 years, county documents state.

The board scheduled a public hearing for 11 a.m. April 9, at 940 W. Main St. in El Centro, to consider financing public capital improvement projects.

The hearing is required by state law when bond proceeds might be used to pay for public capital improvements.

Also at the Tuesday meeting, the board conducted a public hearing on changes to housing rehabilitation community development block grants.

The proposed changes will allow using more flexible loan terms and amounts and allow grants to cover state-mandated wages for those working with grant money. No one from the public spoke to the board about the changes and they were approved.

The board also:

· purchased a server and software for $108,000 for the Sheriff's Office;

· hired Prime Tech Inc. of Fountain Valley as a contractor to manage the final stages of the county's accounting software conversion;

· approved how the Sheriff's Office will spend a $500,000 grant it got from the California Department of Off-Highway Motor Vehicles.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

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