(KCPW News) Credit rating agencies have spared the state a rating downgrade, but some local governments are now under review. Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and some school districts with AAA bond ratings are being reviewed by Moody’s Investors Service for possible downgrades. Darrin Casper, the county’s Chief Financial Officer, says Moody’s believes the county depends too much on federal grant money and federal jobs.
“We actually disagree with Moody’s projections on that,” says Casper. “We do receive some federal funds and grant funding but you know if the grant funding goes away, so to does the program. So we just adjust our budgets accordingly. In terms of federal dependence on jobs, we’re not sure where they’re getting that as well.
Casper says few county projects would suffer from a downgrade. He also expects that while interest rates might go up, the markets would still have a great deal of confidence in the county.
But Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker says a downgrade would significantly affect the cost of projects. And the city has a lot of those going on.
“We have a public safety building we’ve bonded for,” says Mayor Becker. “We’ve bonded for parts of the redevelopment of North Temple as a road that will have light rail line running down the middle of it. If because the interest rates are higher, the cost of that project goes up, we do less.”
Mayor Becker says that could affect the number of projects or require the city to trim back on projects that require ongoing bonding.
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