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MEMPHIS, TN-Shelby County’s $157.75 million 2001 Series A general obligation refunding bonds has received Fitch’s “AA” rating. Fitch also affirmed the same ranking to Shelby’s outstanding debt.

The county’s financial position has recovered from budget difficulties in the late 1990′s tied to unpredictable state reimbursements for prisoner housing.

A new Memphis Sports Authority would add debt to construct an arena to house the Memphis Grizzlies, the city’s new professional basketball team. Although plans are still preliminary, the county and the city of Memphis are likely to contribute about $12 million apiece toward construction of the arena.

Fitch’s rating outlook remains stable, the company says in a written statement. The bonds will mature on April 1, 2003 through 2024, and will be subject to call on and after April 1, 2011.

The bonds are being used to retire short-term bond anticipation notes and commercial paper issued in 1999 and 2000. The county took advantage of favorable short-term interest rates for the first two years, according to Jason Dickerson, director of public finance at Fitch. Shelby County also is issuing $149 million of Extendible Municipal Commercial Paper series 2001.


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