JeffCo commissioners head to NY to meet with sewer creditors - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

JeffCo commissioners head to NY to meet with sewer creditors

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

Two Jefferson County commissioners are leaving for New York City on Monday to salvage their plan to exit bankruptcy.

"We are cautiously optimistic. It's a critical week for the county," David Carrington, Jefferson County Commission President, said.

The Jefferson County Commission held a rare Monday meeting so that Carrington and Commissioner Jimmie Stephens could leave to seek concessions from sewer creditors.

"We need additional concessions in order to make the consensual plan work and we haven't been to that point before," Carrington said.

The county's plan relies on increasing sewer rates and refinancing almost $2 billion of debt but the plan is threatened by increasing interest rates which created a $350 million gap.

"One thing you have to understand, we don't bluff. These are real circumstances. We have a course A and a course B," Stephens said.

If there are no concessions, then the county will turn to bankruptcy court to force the creditors to take a hit on their investments.

Jefferson County Commissioners are refusing to raise sewer rates even higher to fill the void. The county has been in bankruptcy since 2011 and without concessions the county could be in bankruptcy for another two years rather than getting out of bankruptcy by late December.

"You have the uncertainty of the marketplace. You don't know what interest rates will be during that period of time, A, B, it hinders and hampers economic development within the county," Stephens said.

Carrington and Stephens plan to return to Birmingham Thursday night unless there is a need to stay Friday or return next week. The county has to have plan in place by Nov. 4.

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