Foreclosure rate up slightly across county

RBC — As the housing market took a nosedive nationally, the number of foreclosures has increased dramatically in parts of the country.
But not in Rio Blanco County.
There were 12 foreclosures locally in 2008 — up from eight the previous year — County Treasurer Karen Arnold said in her quarterly report to county commissioners at a meeting Feb. 9. “So, we did see an increase, but none went to sale,” Arnold told commissioners. “That means they got resolved. They are, basically, being taken care of before they go to sale.”
There were 13 foreclosures in 2006.
“A lot of it has to do with housing,” Arnold continued. “There’s still a demand, so they are either getting refinanced, or they get caught up, or they are selling before the foreclosure goes through.”
“It’s good to see zero (foreclosure sales),” said Commissioner Ken Parsons.
“How many counties can say that?” added Commission Chairman Joe Collins.
However, 10 days later, Arnold reported “there’s one (foreclosure sale) waiting in the wings,” but it was considered unofficial because her office was still waiting to receive the paperwork.
“We received notification (Feb. 19) from a foreclosure attorney that one is on the way,” Arnold said.
The number of county foreclosures last year was nowhere close to the record.
“In 1987, we had a high of 75,” Arnold said. “That was during the oil shale bust. We’ve never hit that since then.”
Arnold said changes in the state statute “had a great impact” on the local foreclosure number being relatively low.
“The new foreclosure laws gave the homeowner and the lender more time to come to some kind of settlement other than foreclosure,” Arnold said. “The timeline was rearranged, so the sale was closer to the end of the process rather than in the middle. So you’re seeing more people getting refinancing, maybe getting caught up on their payments, but they are getting a good resolution before it goes to sale.”
Also as part of her quarterly report to commissioners, Arnold gave the numbers on the county’s financial accounts.
The total amount in county funds is $29.1 million, and $18.7 million is in the County Capital Improvement Trust Fund.
“The county funds are divided into use tax, county and impact fee trust fund,” Arnold said. “The diversification packages include CDs, Colotrust (Colorado Local Government Liquid Asset Trust) and a money market account, along with two checking accounts. Both local banks and the government asset pool are depositories for the county. The county is run off of the county funds, not CCITF.”
CCITF is handled separately, Arnold said.
“The diversification packages include CDs, treasury notes, the government asset pool and one checking account,” Arnold said of the CCITF accounts. “The depositories are the Bank of Denver, U.S. Bank and the government asset pool.”
The county awards CCITF monies in the fall.
“The commissioners have tried to keep (the CCITF principal monies) right where it has been,” Arnold said. “We have only allocated the interest in the fall of the year to municipalities and special districts. A lot of it is matching funds.”
At the direction of the county’s investment committee, Arnold takes a conservative approach to investing county monies.