Business leaders are speaking out on Jefferson County's plan to get out of bankruptcy. The plan calls for sewer rates to increase for up to 40 years to pay off nearly $2-billion in debt.
Opponents say the increase is too high, but the Birmingham Business Alliance believes it is a good plan. CEO Brian Hilson says bankruptcy has not been an issue in trying to lure companies to Jefferson County.
"We thought it might be something that would hold us back in economic development but it really hasn't," said Hilson. "We've had interest from companies planning to do business here."
"There is a lot of uncertainty because the plan wouldn't go into effect until December anyway. A lot of things can happen and in particular in terms of interest rates," said UAB Assistant Finance Professor Andreas Rauterkus.
Jefferson County Commissioners believe once bankruptcy is behind them, they will be able to grow the county with new business to help ease the cost of escalating sewer rates.
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