Jefferson County Commission urges patience

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Commissioners are urging Jefferson County citizens to be patient and be prepared for long lines if they need to conduct business at the Birmingham or Bessemer courthouses.

Friday, the county's satellite offices were closed indefinitely and two-thirds of the county's workforce was placed on administrative leave without pay to help the county balance its budget after losing millions of dollars from the now illegal occupational tax.

Citizens waited in lines for more than three hours Friday at satellite courthouses to renew car tags or pay bills. Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Carns said those lines will only get worse this week.

"It's catastrophic," Carns said. "It is changing county government as we have known it up to this point, and it's not gonna be pretty. It will be what it will be, and I don't think anybody has a full picture yet."

"It's gonna be lines to get in, lines for anything you wanna do," Commissioner Bobby Humphreys said. "If you wanna get your license renewed, or get your tag, or pay any kind of fines, it's gonna be long lines and people need to be ready to spend some time when they come down here."

In addition, the county will only have a handful of maintenance workers to maintain county buildings. Commissioners say inspections of new homes or renovations could also be delayed for weeks.

"Anyone who has dealings with Jefferson County might be in for a rude awakening come Monday morning," Commissioner William Bell said. "That things will not be normal by any stretch of the imagination."

Commissioners continue to urge state lawmakers from Jefferson County to compromise on a new occupational tax for Jefferson County. Those lawmakers are scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide whether there is enough consensus to ask Gov. Bob Riley to call a special session.