Corporation could take over county's sewer debt crisis

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County officials are discussing a new idea to solve the county's $3 billion sewer debt crisis, which has pushed the county close to bankruptcy.

This week, court-appointed receiver John Young met with Jefferson County lawmakers to talk about creating an independent corporation to oversee the running of the sewer system and refinancing of the debt. This would be welcomed news for sewer customers paying high bills.

"Personally I think it's going to continue to go up. I don't think it will come down. It hasn't come down yet," Angela Long said, a sewer customer.

Gardendale Senator Scott Beason listened to Young's pitch and thinks it's a good idea.

"I think it's important for the future investors. The people who will help get out of this understand a different group would be controlling the sewer system. I think it's something important. I think it's going to be necessary," Beason said.

The idea of a corporation may help solve Jefferson County's sewer debt problem but Beason believes the corporation will have to be created because investors won't trust the county commission to solve the problem.

"I think it's clear you have to have a different group running the sewer system so we won't have the same problems of the past," Beason said.

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