Sewer customers aren't enamored with proposed rate hikes - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Sewer customers aren't enamored with proposed rate hikes

Source: WBRC Source: WBRC
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Some Jefferson County sewer customers are not happy with the county's plan to get out of the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history.

The plan calls for sewer rates to go up 7.41 percent each year for four years and then drop to 3.49 each year for another 36 years.

"It's a big increase to them but it's going to be hurt a lot of people. I think this is another way to do this thing," Orman Skinner, sewer customer, said.

"Our utility bills are higher than Mobile, Atlanta. I'm just against it," Ronnie Redrick, sewer customer, said.

Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington said the sewer rate increases will help get the county out of bankruptcy.

"Hopefully it will be approved by Judge Bennett and we will be able to sell the new debt and be out by the end of the year," Carrington said.

Only Commissioner George Bowman remains a vocal critic of the plan to raise sewer rates. Bowman said it will hurt the poor in his district.

"We are embarking on a plan that will continue to climb year, after year, after year for the net 40 years," Bowman said.

The bankruptcy plan called for small rate increases on the front end of paying off the county's sewer debt but part of the debt called for bigger payments near the end of the 40 year refinancing plan. Some sewer customers said they are turning to a higher power.

"I hope we can come up with a negotiation to lower it. We will be praying to the good Lord and he is going to make everything okay," Ronald Flowers, sewer customer, said.

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