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Oxford, Lafayette See Drop in Baptist Investment Returns

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Due to a volatile market for most of the last year, fewer potholes may be fixed in Lafayette County over the next 12 months.

Each year, proceeds from the county’s $20 million from the 2012 sale of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North, have been split between the five districts to maintain and repair county roads. Last year, the county received close to $600,000.

This year, it could be half of that.

According to Edward Maxwell from Watkins, Ward & Stafford accounting firm who presented the trust fund’s annual report to the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors Monday, the most that could be taken from the fund this year is $426,000; however, that doesn’t include the $130,000 that has to be paid for fund management and attorney fees.

As of March 31, the end of the fiscal year, the trust fund was valued at $20,426,099, down from $21,389,099 from March 31, 2018.

In 2012, Baptist paid the city and county $60 million to buy the hospital so it could get out of its lease and build the new Baptist hospital that opened in November 2017. Baptist sold the old facility to the University of Mississippi for $22 million. The city and county split the funds and received $30 million each. The Board of Supervisors at the time elected to take $10 million and pay off all county debt and invest the remaining $20 million.

Since it’s inception in 2012, the county has received $2,391,125. Each year, the supervisors have elected to put those funds, which have averaged about $550,000, toward road repairs.

The fund is managed by investment firm Green Square Capital. About $16M is invested in fixed income, like bond mutual funds, exchange-traded products and U.S. Treasury bonds. About $2.2M is invested in equities, like stocks and equity mutual funds.

During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the investment saw a -1.5 return, down from a 4% return last fiscal year.

City of Oxford’s $30M Fund
On Tuesday, Maxwell also presented the annual report to the Oxford Board of Aldermen for the city’s $30 million investment, which fared slightly better than Lafayette County’s fund, but also so a decrease in returns.

The fund, as of March 31, was worth $34,874,671, up slightly from last year’s $34,861,445.

Since its inception, Oxford’s fund has had a net investment return of more than $11 million, which includes the 3% pay off the city has received each year. That averages about $875,000 per year with a total amount of $5,041,557. Those funds go into the city’s general fund that has helped pay for a variety of city projects and large pieces of equipment, including city vehicles.

This year’s payout is $1,046,240; however, about $160,000 comes out of that amount to pay for the fund’s management, accounting and legal fees. That would make the payout this year to be about $886,000.

The fund has returned 2.58% over the last year, down from the fiscal year 2017-2018 that saw a 5.38% return.

As of March 31, 40% of the assets are allocated to equities, 60% is allocated to fixed income.

Investment firm Glenmede, that manages the fund, is instructed to try to grow the fund enough to allow for annual payouts but to do so in a conservative fashion as to not risk losing the initial $30 million investment.

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