Politics hold up Jefferson County sewer debt solution

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Any possible solution to Jefferson County's sewer debt crisis may depend on sitting a new county commissioner from District One.

The seat has been vacant since Commissioner William Bell resigned to became mayor of Birmingham. Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said Wednesday she is confident a solution may be found soon.

"In this time and space we believe the environment is conducive to our getting a quick settlement than it has been or will be, it's now," Collins said.

Commissioner Shelia Smoot said the county should wait until there are five commissioners in place after the special election in June.

"District One has to be represented," Smoot said. "If we waited if we can for a person to come on board."

Commissioner Bobby Humphryes said the only deal that make sense is for the bond creditors to cut Jefferson County's $3 billion debt down to about $1 billion.

"I could not vote for any deal that requires substantial rate increases or new taxes or takes it out of the general fund to pay it," Humphryes said.

Collins said taxpayers, rate payers and the business community are demanding the county act on any sort of agreement soon.

"It seems to be we all to take a wait and see attitude and see positions without prejudging situation, without issuing mandates," Collins said.

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