JeffCo creditors say new sewer rates aren't enough to pay off de - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

JeffCo creditors say new sewer rates aren't enough to pay off debt

Source: WBRC Source: WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Jefferson County's new sewer rates aren't even in place yet but already the county's creditors are saying they're not enough.

Three different groups of Jefferson County's creditors are asking Judge Thomas Bennett to lift the automatic stay in place and allow either sewer receiver John Young or a state court to decide how high rates should go. All the creditors argue the $2-3 a month average increase approved by the county commission last week isn't enough.

But the county says the extra $8 million a year that will raise will go straight to paying off its debts, and says this is an interim step of good faith while the county negotiates its way out of bankruptcy.

One key take away from Thursday is that creditors made it clear they're not asking to put the receiver back in charge of the sewer system's day to day operations. They'll leave that to the county either way.

While Judge Bennett didn't tip his hand, he did say that issues like this are what he calls "side issues" that will be appealed and will probably become pointless once an overall settlement is reached long before those appeals play out.

Another key point today: Judge Bennett said its "unlikely" that the sewer system is worth the billions that it owes. If that's his legal ruling later on, that would cut down on the amount of money the county and you the customer will have to pay off.

A three-day trial on this issue is set for late January to decide who gets the final say on rates.

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