ORANGE — Finance officials advised the City Council this week to drop longstanding plans to hire an independent investment consultant.
Investments made since Orange County's bankruptcy last year are scrupulously safe and can be handled in-house, acting City Manager David L. Rudat stated in a report to the council this week.
A separate advisory committee, formed after $28 million of city funds were frozen last year when Orange County's investment pool collapsed, backed up the recommendation of city staff.
The city treasurer and other staff members can easily handle the city's $110-million investment portfolio, most of which is now in government securities, said members of the panel, composed of community and business leaders with expertise in finance.
Council members were criticized by local taxpayer groups last year for not having adequate oversight of city investments. Within weeks after the county's December bankruptcy filing, council members voted to form the advisory committee and search for an independent consultant.
The city has since recovered about $23 million of its funds through court settlements and since January has invested only in U.S. Treasury bonds, which are "virtually risk free," Rudat said.
The staff report, compiled by Rudat, City Treasurer Helen Walker and Acting Finance Director Jeanne Arehart, shows that the city now has 83% of its funds in U.S. government issues and 13% in the state's investment pool.
The city will withdraw funds from that pool until 93% of the city's money is guaranteed by the federal government, the officials said.