JeffCo to decide on bankruptcy Thursday - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

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JeffCo to decide on bankruptcy Thursday

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Regardless of any settlements reached in the Jefferson County sewer debt crisis, County Commission President David Carrington said a decision will be made Thursday as to whether or not the county declares bankruptcy.

In a rather rare action Monday, a Russell County circuit judge granted a request to allow the state attorney general to represent the interests of sewer customers.

The order filed by Judge Albert Johnson gives Attorney General Luther Strange the authority to represent Jefferson County tax payer interests in the sewer debt crisis, to make sure sewer rates are fair, reasonable and legal. Sewer customers face the possibility of rate hikes as much as 50 percent.

State Rep. Mary Moore (D-Jefferson) believes all sewer laws brokered in the mid-90s were done illegally, forcing the county to consider bankruptcy.

"From day one, everything that was done related to the sewer was illegal and the refinancing of the bonds, according to the codes of Alabama," Moore said in a press conference Monday. "I'm saying that instead of the Jefferson County Commission having to rush in to bankruptcy or selling the debt, that first they need to address the primary interest of the criminal charges that should have been brought [against former commissioners]."

Now, tax payers are the victim of these crimes, according to attorney Jim McFerrin who represents the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation.

"Essentially the sewer customers are the victims of the crime, and now essentially the banks are, and the receiver, to be honest, are asking the victims of the crime to pay once again," McFerrin said.

McFerrin hopes the attorney general will be able to broker a deal that will rescue Jefferson County residents.

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