Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

County’s potential loss offset elsewhere

Citizen Staff Writer

GARRY DUFFY

gduffy@tucsoncitizen.com

Pima County Treasurer Beth Ford hopes for long-term solutions to the nation’s economic troubles, not only immediate attempts at fixes such as those in Congress.

“I hope it will free up credit a little and put more liquidity into the market,” Ford said Wednesday.

The county stands to lose $2 million in interest from the recent meltdown of Lehman Brothers, money from the state Local Government Investment Pool 5.

But the county’s investments for the year – including that write-off – are at a $4.6 million profit, Ford noted.

The county has about $1 billion in investments in several types of funds and securities.

“If you look at the portfolio overall, we haven’t lost any money,” Ford said.

Continuing market uncertainty is affecting the Treasurer’s Office by leaving fewer investment opportunities.

“I have a hard time finding places to put the county’s money because the market is frozen,” Ford said.

Traditional safe havens like Treasury bonds are unattractive because the short-term notes offer almost no profit, she said.

Places formerly considered conservative investments either are no longer safe or no longer exist, she said.

“I went to bed Friday night and Wachovia held an A rating,” Ford said. “I got up Monday and it was gone.”

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