Accuracy of John Young’s pending sewer report questioned

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (WBRC) - Jefferson County Commissioners are considering hiring expert consultants to advise them on a report coming from a $500-an-hour federally appointed receiver.  John Young was appointed by a federal court to find a way to help solve the county's $3 billion dollar sewer debt crisis and to satisfy the county's creditors. Commissioners are wary of Young's pending report.

"He is not there to represent the citizens of Jefferson County," Jefferson County commissioner Jimmie Stephens said. Stephens added that the county needs to hire experts which would probably also be paid for by sewer ratepayers in order to determine if Young's report is accurate.

"We are here to represent the citizens of Jefferson County and the ratepayers of the sewer. Anything we deem unreasonable or unfair the county will challenge," Stephens said. He says Jefferson County would consider returning to federal court if they determine that Young's report--which will include sewer rate increases--is too high.

Meanwhile, ratepayers continue to struggle with their sewer bills.

"My sewer bill is so high now. It don't need to be like that," Willie Dailey said.

"It's been higher than normal. Double the amount," Acquanta Rucker said.

Some ratepayers question spending so much on Young's and future consultant's salaries but others support hiring experts if it will keep their sewer bills down.

"I mean we are having to pay for their salaries and all of the increases. I think that is crazy," Edward Steele said.

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