County Debt Facing Possible Credit Downgrade

Rating agency Moody’s says Kern County may see a possible credit downgrade following the fiscal emergency declaration by supervisors last week.

Administrative officer John Nilon said he was expecting the notice, but also said it’s not likely the county’s $86 million in debt will be graded lower than its current A1 level.

“It’s important to recognize that we’ve been in contact with all of the rating agencies, and they’re aware that this is a strategic move so that we can take action and implement a long-range plan,” he said.

He said the county usually borrows money equal to property tax revenue, then pays down the debt after the money is collected later in the year.

The A1 rating is three notches below the top AAA rating, but still on the higher end of the investment grade scale.

– Anthony Pollreisz