Alabama's Jefferson County has finalized a plan to present to creditors aimed at settling its $3.2 billion sewer bond debt and avoiding the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
County Commission President David Carrington said in a local television interview on Thursday the plan includes repayment at a fixed rate over a fixed term and said it would be backed by the state's good name and credit.
There will be no increasing rates. It will be like a fixed-rate mortgage, Carrington told WBRC TV in Birmingham, the state's largest city and a center of economic activity. We will know exactly how much we are going to pay.
Double-digit sewer rate increases are not part of the plan, Carrington said. In June, court-appointed water receiver John Young said a 25 percent sewer rate hike would start in September.
There needs to be some rate increase due to capital expenditures and the cost associated with maintenance, said Carrington. Double-digit increases are unacceptable and won't be tolerated.
He said Young was due to present the plan to creditors and hoped for progress by July 29.
(Reporting by Peggy Gargis and Melinda Dickinson; Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing by Andrew Hay)