County foreclosures continue to rise

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RBC I The number of foreclosures in the county continues to rise.
“We have opened 37, with 28 still active,” said Karen Arnold, Rio Blanco County treasurer. “Of the 28, three are files that opened in 2008.”
Active files are cases that are going through different stages of the foreclosure process.
“Some of them have just been opened, some have gone through a sale, they’re just all in various stages,” Arnold said.
Last year, the county recorded 12 foreclosures, up from eight the previous year. Of the foreclosures on this year’s books, nine have gone to sale.
While the number of local foreclosures has been on the increase, it’s still a ways off from the high for the county.
“In 1987, we had a high of 75,” Arnold said. “That was during the oil shale bust. We’ve never hit that since then.”
She’s hoping that won’t happen in 2009.
“Hopefully we’ve slowed down, but I’m looking at maybe 40 (for the year),” Arnold said. “I’m hoping it won’t be more than that. Still, that’s a lot, if you look at the percentage going up (from recent years).”
Arnold will give the report to commissioners on the last quarter of the year — October, November and December — at a commission meeting in January.
In her recent quarterly report to county commissioners, Arnold provided numbers on the county’s financial investments.
The total amount in the county’s general fund is $28 million (down from $29.8 million the previous quarter), with $10.6 million in the use tax fund and $4.4 million in the impact fee trust fund.
Arnold said the county’s investment report hadn’t changed a whole lot since the previous quarter.
“Principal is up,” Arnold said. “But interest earnings are down from last year.”
In its operating accounts, the county has $11.2 million in checking and money market accounts, which includes use tax funds.
In the County Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CCITF), there is $5 million checking and money markets.
In certificates of deposits, the county’s CCITF fund has $8.8 million, up from $5.1 million a year ago.
“We are looking at more CD purchases,” Arnold said. “They are paying much better than treasuries, Colotrust or checking or money markets. It’s been quite a change watching the investment portfolio grow because of added CDs. Safety is foremost with our investment institutions, having to either collateralize or fall within the FDIC insurance premiums.”
In Colotrust (Colorado Local Government Liquid Asset Trust), the county has investments of $1.6 million in general funds, $3.1 million in use tax, $4.4 million in impact fees and $1.2 million in CCITF.