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Alabama’s Huntsville Plans $150 Million Tax-Exempt Warrant Sale

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Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Huntsville, Alabama’s fourth-most-populous city, plans to sell about $150 million of general-obligation warrants as soon as tomorrow to fund capital projects.

Moody’s Investors Service gave the tax-exempt debt its top grade of Aaa, calling Huntsville “a major economic engine for northern Alabama” with a large government presence including NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

About $100 million of the warrants will be used for refunding, improvements on roads and sewers and the purchase of vehicles, according to a preliminary official statement. The rest is designated for school projects.

The warrants are part of Hunstville’s 10-year plan for capital improvement, scheduled to run through 2021, that calls for borrowing every two or three years, Randy Taylor, the city’s finance director, said in a telephone interview. The municipality most recently issued debt in September 2010 and anticipates selling again in 2014, he said.

“We have broken up our traditionally larger issues into smaller ones to take advantage of the opportunities in the market with interest rates being so low,” Taylor said.

Yields on top-rated municipal bonds due in 10 years have fallen 0.68 percentage point this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Rates fell below 2 percent in September to the lowest level since at least January 2009, when Bloomberg data for the securities begins.

Huntsville has about 180,000 residents, trailing Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile in Alabama, according to the Census Bureau. The city’s population climbed 14 percent from 2000 to 2010, almost double the average growth in the state.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Chappatta in New York at bchappatta1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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