Commissioners confident they'll call the shots on sewer rates

Commissioners confident they'll call the shots on sewer rates

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Jefferson County commissioners. Source: WBRC video Jefferson County commissioners. Source: WBRC video
Former court-appointed receiver John Young was on the stand in court on Friday. Source: WBRC video Former court-appointed receiver John Young was on the stand in court on Friday. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The legal fight over raising sewer rates in Jefferson entered its third day in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

On the stand Friday was former court appointed receiver John Young. Young oversaw the sewer department and he recommended a 25 percent sewer rate increase. Jefferson County Commissioners wanted Young out as receiver.

"He was in place. He had an agenda. I'm not sure that agenda was in the best interest of the people of Jefferson County," Joe Knight, Jefferson County Commissioner, said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett stripped Young of his authority. Creditors are now seeking permission from Bennett to move their claim for higher rates to state court. The creditors would also like to see Young restored to his old position.

Jefferson County commissioners are confident of winning their case in the hearing.

"Amendment 73 passed by the people is very clear that the commission sets rates. Not sewer creditors or sewer receivers," Commissioner David Carrington said.

The county commission has already voted to increase rates on most customers by about $2 a month. The rate increase takes place in March. Carrington says it's fair and reasonable.

"I don't think anyone wants to pay for the fraud that took place. Even in the concessions offered by creditors, the offered concessions, it's in recognition there was fraud," Carrington said.

The judge is expected to make a ruling later but Jefferson County Commissioners are confident they will remain in charge of calling the shots on sewer rates.

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