Moody's Downgrades Cook County Forest Preserve District

The downgrade comes after Moody's downgraded Cook County, Chicago Public Schools, the city's park district and the city of Chicago itself

In another blow to Illinois finances, Moody's downgraded the debt status of the Cook County Forest Preserve District Monday. 

The district was downgraded from an A1 to an A2 rating, and the outlook remains negative, according to Moody's.

The credit rating service cited "the district's growing pension liabilities" and "competing demands placed on the local property tax base from the debt and unfunded pension liabilities of Cook County" as reasons for the downgrade.

Just last week, the debt status of Cook County as a whole was downgraded to A2 negative. Chicago Public Schools and the city's park district were also downgraded to junk status in May, just one day after the credit rating service downgraded Chicago's bond rating to junk status

The forest preserve district's ties to the rest of the county serve as another reason for its decline. Moody's noted that many of the same people who serve on the board of commissioners for Cook County also serve on the forest preserve district's board. 

June 30 marks the end of the current fiscal year, and in the meantime, politicians are battling out a budget in Springfield.

As Moody's continues to slash credit ratings around the state, the future of Cook County -- including its schools, parks and now the forest preserve -- could hang in the balance until a decision is made in Springfield. 

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