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Hearing ends, Judge approves plan to exit bankruptcy - abc27 WHTM

Hearing ends, Judge approves Jefferson Co. plan to exit bankruptcy

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JEFFERSON COUNTY - AL -

 

A bankruptcy judge confirmed Jefferson County's plan to exit bankruptcy. That puts the county one step closer toward making an exit December third. The hearing ended just after 8:30 Thursday night. 

"We have been through all the arguments, we understood our position, we were comfortable in our position," Commission President, David Carrington said after the judge's ruling.

 

The deal eliminates more than $1 billion of debt, but the sewer debt alone still sits at $1.8 billion - to be paid by people in Jefferson County.

Some ratepayers are still putting up a fight led by attorney Calvin Grigsby, but even his appeal will not change climbing sewer rates which, in the plan, over 40 years will reach a high of nearly 8 percent. 

"30% of all of the people in Birmingham on the system are on fixed incomes, social security," Calvin Grigsby said. "So if you're going to raise rates - a gross of $140 million to $660 million, those people are not going to be able to pay their bills 3, 4, 10 years out."

"We are working with the city court to sell the warrants on December 3rd and once the warrants are sold, I think that would mute any appeal," Carrington said.

While this plan gets the county out of bankruptcy - it doesn't get rid of long car tag lines or bring back jobs that must come from economic development which commissioners hope will be restored when bankruptcy is over.

"What the county needs is more jobs, more businesses, that will stimulate a growth in population and will stimulate housing development," Carrington said.

Sewer users in Jefferson County should expect to see the higher sewer bills starting next month.
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