Gaithersburg has a long-standing “pay-as-you-go” policy. We have zero debt, and we must pre-fund any major projects.
The city has more than $100 million in its accounts now, which seems like a lot for a city our size – it’s almost double our annual budget. The city has run surpluses the past few years, thanks to some serious belt-tightening and by saving for future projects.
Where have you heard of a city that has no debt and a budget surplus?
And there are opportunities to do even better. The city earns very little interest on its money. The funds are currently invested in a state fund where all the cash is immediately available and earning a nominal interest rate. Basically, it looks like we have more than $100 million in a checking account. This is the safest way to invest, but it’s probably extreme. By investing in federally insured CDs at a variety of banks through programs approved by the state, we could take some of our longer-term funds and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in interest. Our new finance director has made this a high priority project and we will know more as the budget is developed.
We are looking at the city’s needs as we continue to grow. Our population, job centers, and shopping areas are projected to be 25-50% larger over the next 15-25 years. We are working on plans to meet these needs. Please read the sections on transportation and strategy and let me know what you think. I will read each email and comment and respond to you.