Day 1 for Jefferson County's sewer debt controller

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Monday was the first day on the job for Jefferson County's new court-appointed receiver, John Young. He is from New Jersey and was a water utility executive.

Young spent his first day meeting with people at the county's environmental services department. "What I hope to do is bring credibility to a resolution. My job is to understand what the department can do. What is appropriate for a rate increase. I'm not going to be leading a resolution. I hope to be at the table," Young said.

Young says he hopes rate increases will be small. As for non-user fees for those not on the sewer system, Young says that's on the table but way down the road for possible consideration. "It's about protecting the environment. It's about good customer service. It's about good customer service. It's about doing things economically as possible," Young said.

Commissioner Jim Carns once oversaw the sewer department. Carns says he will cooperate with Young. As for finding a solution to the $3 billion debt, Carns says creditors will have to write off most of the debt in order for any deal to work.

"It's really unbelievable to say we got $3.2 billion, you say someone is forgiving a billion and you say that doesn't work. We really have to have two billion," Carns said.

Outside of the courthouse was Joe Minter. Minter, a Jefferson County resident, continues to protest and urge the commission to act on bankruptcy as a solution. Minter also opposes Young's $500 an hour salary. "I'm here about us. I'm talking about the masses. You pay a man 500 dollars an hour, plus expenses. What about us?" Minter said.

"I can personally say, I left a lucrative job as a utility executive to do this. This is something I can make a big difference on," Young said.

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