ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN BIRMINGHAM AL – 09/01/2011
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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The Birmingham City Council, Mayor William Bell and the Jefferson County Commission Wednesday evening sat jointly for the first time to discuss the county’s financial crisis, the possibility of bankruptcy and its impact on residents.
“While we don’t have a settlement, there has been a lot of progress made,” said Commission President David Carrington, summarizing the commission’s meeting with New York bankers.
The commission’s next deadline to meet with bankers on the crisis is Sept. 16. While Carrington expressed optimism, he cautioned that nothing is yet in writing. He and other commissioners said they would not agree to drastic sewer rate increases.
“We won’t let 25 percent rate increases stand,” Carrington said. “It’s been clear that we won’t let that happen.”
Commissioner Sandra Little Brown said a rate increase was inevitable but must be reasonable.
Brown echoed Carrington’s optimism but reminded the group the county still has another major unresolved financial issue with the general fund calamity caused by the loss of the occupational tax. The loss of the tax has already forced layoffs and reduced services that affect all county residents, she said.
“If we settled the sewer and still have the general fund fail, we’d still have to file for bankruptcy,” added Commissioner Joe Knight.
Knight said nothing is certain.
“It’s a long, dark road that we don’t know where we’re going to come out,” he said of bankruptcy. “If we have to, we have to.”
Council members agreed to support the commission’s efforts in lobbying the Legislature as it works to resolve both issues. That includes asking for limited home rule to reinstate the occupational tax.
Council President Roderick Royal, who presided over the meeting, said he would invite the commission to the council’s legislative meeting in October.
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