Another delay keeps Jeffco workers from work

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It is another delay for getting Jefferson County worker back to work. Attorneys for the county will wait until next week to access funds to possibly help pay for the employees return.

Some are not waiting. Michael Morrison hoped to be back at work by now but with mounting bills he is looking elsewhere."I've got a house payment. A mouth to feed. A dog needs to go to the vet. Got to pay for my car. I don't know if I can hold out much longer." says Morrison.

Lisa Pack, a county employee has started a Facebook page on the internet, Friends of Jefferson County. This keeps the employees up to date on efforts to return them to work. Pack says for some the loss of a paycheck is hurting them emotionally."They are having to seek mental and professional help. Suicidal. It's getting suicidal for some of them." says Pack.

Pack has encouraged some county workers to seek other jobs. This week Jefferson County Commissioner Bobby Humphryes pressed the commission to come with a place to bring the workers back.

"My main concern is getting the employees back to work and getting the county back to operating like they are supposed to." says Humphryes.

The county's legal team hopes DeKalb County Judge David Rains if they can spend money out of the escrow account or the old job tax money to pay to bring the employees back on the job.

But, for some it may be too late."I've got the resume together starting Monday, I'm going to be aggressive finding another job." says Morrison.

Jefferson County attorneys say the county cannot bring back workers without money. Papers will be filed with DeKalb County Judge David Rains asking permission to spend money out of a job tax escrow account to bring the employees back."The county is still subject to a trial court injunction. Until that is modified or lifted the escrow account is not available to anything." says Jeff Sewell, county attorney.

Here is breakdown of the numbers of a possible refund to taxpayers out of that escrow account.

There is a about $17 million in the account.

The county spent about $22 million out of it since January.

Taxpayers may be due a combined $38 million in a refund.

With 300,000 workers due refunds

The average would be $130.

The attorneys who filed the lawsuit which led to the job tax being declared illegal are expected to be paid out the money due taxpayers."Normally it's between 20 to 30 percent of whatever goes back to the folks. I don't know what the number is until we look at the number. I hope it's a whole bunch." says Jim McFerrin, attorney.

This means McFerrin and his partner, Sam Hill could be paid between $8 to $10 million. After that taxpayers will be paid their refunds.

"The normal procedure is for the trail court to establish a procedure to get refunds to fold in whatever manner." says McFerrin.

The refunds could end up costing Jefferson County hundreds of thousands of dollars to research and send out. "No we can't come up with that money. There is no magical account hidden somewhere. It's not there." says County Commissioner Jim Carns.