The City of Des Moines' general obligation (GO) debt rating has been downgraded to Aa2 from Aa1, according Moody's Investors Services, the New York-based ratings agency.

The downgrade is the result of narrow operating reserves, below average income indicators and an elevated debt burden, due in part to retirement pensions for full-time firefighters and police officers. Moody's claims Des Moines has a "moderately elevated exposure to two statewide cost-sharing pension plans."

The downgrade applies to $437 million of outstanding general obligation debt. Moody's review was initiated January 15, 2014 and incorporated new methodology for assessing the security of local government debt.

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