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S&P cuts bond rating for Sequatchie County

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DUNLAP, SEQUATCHIE COUNTY (Times Free Press) - The smallest county in metropolitan Chattanooga took the biggest hit among Tennessee's 95 counties this week when a major ratings service cut its financial grade.

Standard & Poor's reduced the bond rating for Sequatchie County from "A plus" to "A" to reflect what S&P analysts said was "the county's weakening financial position." S&P said the prospect of unfunded ambulance expenses and the drop in fund reserves in four of the past five years caused the drop in ratings for Sequatchie County's government debt.

S&P reduced its top AAA rating for U.S. treasurys and federal agencies such as the Tennessee Valley Authority in the past week. But the ratings service didn't lower its assessments for most non-federal debt.

"State and local government ratings are not directly constrained by that of the U.S.," Gabriel Petek, an S&P analyst in San Francisco, said in a report released this week.

Read more about this story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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