Jeffco courts, Birmingham elections may be in jeopardy

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County's financial crisis could force county courts to shut down in two weeks, according to commission president Bettye Fine Collins.

Collins, in a Thursday meeting, said the county may not have enough security to operate the courts safely, because the county may put up to 67% of the workforce on administrative leave.

Collins also said the county may not be able to get voting machines ready for Birmingham's muncipal elections in August.  The commission president says after Friday's payroll, the county will only have 2 million dollars left in the payroll account.

A meeting between Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale and the commission will take place Thursday afternoon at 1:30 before Judge Joseph Boohaker.  The judge ordered both sides to come to the meeting table and work out an operational plan, after the judge sided with Sheriff Hale, saying the county should not have cut his budget.

All of this troubling financial news is because the county's 0.5% occupational tax was ruled illegal.  Governor Bob Riley has agreed to call a special session to help the county pass a new tax, but only if legislators come to an agreement first.

FOX6 News will have more on today's developing news from Jefferson County tonight on our newscasts at 5:00 and 6:00.