BRADENTON, Fla. - A federal court will hear arguments beginning at 9 a.m. Central Time today over whether Jefferson County, Ala.'s financially troubled sewer system should be placed in receivership.

U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor has set aside several days for the proceedings to consider appointing a receiver for the system and its $3.2 billion of debt. Most of the debt is in troubled variable- and auction-rate mode for which soaring interest rates and accelerated payments have pushed the county to the brink of bankruptcy.

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