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County debt under review in Durham, Wake

Posted August 8, 2011 4:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 9, 2011 9:34 a.m. EDT

— The downgrade of the U.S. credit rating has prompted a review of Durham County's and Wake County's debt, North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell said Monday.

Rating agency Moody's also contacted Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Mecklenburg County, New Hanover County and Guilford County to notify them of an immediate review of their debt, Cowell said.

The reviews are a direct result of the U.S. downgrade, she said. Various factors could be involved, including the local and county governments’ dependence on federal funding, the amount of variable-rate debt they’re carrying and the size of their reserve funds.

The process should be concluded in a few weeks, she said.

North Carolina maintains its three-star bond rating – the highest possible – so Cowell said she expects little fallout on the state's borrowing ability from the U.S. downgrade.

The state's conservative investment policies also will help the state's pension funds weather the volatility in the stock markets, she said.

"We're investing for the long term, so we'll survive some of that volatility," she said. "We positioned and diversified as much as possible so that we don't have all our eggs in one basket."