Jefferson County sues to recoup taxes

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County is taking several companies to court to recoup tax dollars.

One of the companies is Hendon Engineering. The company built Five Mile Creek Treatment facility. Commissioner Jim Carns says Hendon built the building with a design flaw: it can only handle 60% of the waste water compacity.

"As it would wind down and went into service, it didn't have enough capacity," Carns said. "This was not caught by anyone."

The county would like to recoup $4 million but, since Hendon is out of business, the county is seeking insurance money.

The other lawsuit is against Kipling and Co. The county wants $31,000 in workforce development funds. Commissioners say no work was done at all.

"I think it's something do do with our society today," said Bettye Fine Collins, president of the Jefferson  Co. Commission.  "I don't know people feel they should be held to the performance standard that they adhered to in the past."

While Jefferson County Commissioners are hoping by going to court they can recoup taxpayers dollars, commissioner are also hoping to take other steps to stop the trouble from happening again.

"I think a county manager could have caught this," said Bobby Humphryes, Jefferson Co. Commissioner. "All of the corruption, they would have definitely saved us a lot of money."

Collins says she would like to see the county move to a contract compliance officer. Collins says she has doubts a county manager will have all of the necessary skills.

"Hey, except for Bear Bryant, I don't know who could fill that position," Collins said. "He could walk on water."

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