Town Hall Meeting Tonight to Discuss Sewer Rates and the Effects of Jeffco’s Bankruptcy

Jefferson County Commission Lashunda Scales. Jan. 24, 2019. (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

The Jefferson County Commission is conducting a town hall-style meeting tonight to discuss the county’s 2011 bankruptcy and its long-term effects, including the schedule of sewer rate increases, the county’s current financial condition and an outlook for the future.

The event is 6 p.m. at Regions Field, 1401 First Ave. S., Birmingham. Doors open at 5 p.m. The town hall is open to the public.

“It is time to have this discussion directly with the people. This is an issue that impacts so many families in Jefferson County,” Commission President Pro Tem Lashunda Scales, who organized the town hall meeting, said in a press release. “Our residents deserve information and they deserve to hear it directly from their county leadership.”

Jefferson County’s $4.23 billion bankruptcy filing in 2011 was the largest municipal financial collapse in American history at the time.

The county’s debt grew from a combination of corruption and uncontrolled borrowing and spending to repair an outdated sewer system. To get out from under the bankruptcy, county officials at the time agreed to a plan that included raising sewer rates for decades to come.

The town hall meeting will allow residents to directly ask officials questions about the history of the sewer system financing, the bankruptcy and what it means specifically to them.