Jeffco leaders meeting with bankruptcy attorneys

Jeffco leaders meeting with bankruptcy attorneys

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

A meeting on Thursday morning could shape Jefferson County's financial future. County commissioners will meet with bankruptcy lawyers to weigh the county's options in a closed door meeting at the county courthouse. They want to discuss what would happen if the county declares bankruptcy.

The commission has hired a consulting firm to help fix the county's fiscal problems and develop a chapter nine bankruptcy strategy for restructuring. They want Wall Street creditors to drop about $1.3 billion of the more than $3 billion sewer debt.

Commissioners also want creditors like JP Morgan to accept single digit rate hikes every year. At the same time, they want those creditors to establish a fund for sewer customers who cannot afford the rate hikes.

If Jefferson County does file for chapter nine, it will be the largest bankruptcy for any municipality in the country, surpassing Orange County, California's filing in 1994.

One of the attorneys that will be present during the meeting, Kenneth Klee, guided Orange County's case. The filing would end the sewer debt crisis but  will not help the county recover the loss of occupational tax revenue.

The meeting gets underway at 10:00 a.m.

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