Birmingham City Councilor William Bell is expected to be seated as a Jefferson County commissioner Wednesday and he could be an important swing vote in the future as commissioners consider how to deal with $3.2 billion of troubled sewer-related debt.

Bell, a Democrat, was the only person running for the office on this week’s ballot. That occurred because current commissioner George Bowman, also a Democrat, failed to obtain enough voters’ signatures to get on the ballot. Bowman, who has been a staunch opponent of bankruptcy for the county, was appointed to the seat by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley after Larry Langford stepped down to become mayor of Birmingham.

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