GOSHEN — Interest earned from Elkhart County’s bank accounts has dropped dramatically in the past seven years, but it seems to be inching up slowly.
The county’s annual interest in 2007 was roughly $7.8 million, according to the treasurer’s office. By 2011, the interest collected dipped below the million-dollar mark at $762,682. Treasurer Jackie Meyers updated the county commissioners Monday, Feb. 24, with a figure for 2013.
The county treasurer’s office collected $521,399 in interest last year in all of its bank accounts, representing a $40,095 boost from 2012. The net interest, however, after service charges to bank accounts totaled $460,670, which includes net interest earned on certificates of deposits, or CDs.
“Back in 2007, we were able to help balance our budget, and last year, our budget deficit was almost $5 million, and if we could have received that kind of interest, we wouldn’t have do the cuts that we had to do,” county commissioner Frank Lucchese said. “Up is better than going down, but it’s just a sign of the economy, that it’s not truly completely back because the interest rates are so low.”
The county has savings accounts at Lake City Bank and Interra Credit Union. While the interest rate at Interra stayed steady at .40 percent in 2013, the rate at Lake City plummeted. Lake City’s interest rate dropped from .42 percent to .12 percent.
“Wow,” county commissioners president Terry Rodino commented. “Sad, sad, sad.”
Meyers said the interest rate “was a little surprising” because of how much it declined.
“It opened my eyes to the need to restructure a little bit,” she said. “I have to be careful because I can’t put all my eggs in one basket.”
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.