At least three of the five Jefferson County, Ala., commissioners have rejected a counteroffer proposed by creditors in negotiations attempting to avert the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy, according to the Birmingham News on Friday.
Creditors of the county’s $3.2 billion of troubled sewer debt met in Montgomery, Alabama’s capital, on Wednesday reportedly with a counteroffer to a restructuring plan forwarded by Gov. Bob Riley on Aug. 29. That counteroffer sought revenues in addition to annual increases in sewer rates to restructure the county’s sewer debt, which mostly is in auction- and variable-rate securities.
Riley stepped in when county commissioners were unable to come to agreement on two previous restructuring plans supported by creditors, which included additional revenues. Riley’s plan on Aug. 29 included only sewer rate increases.
Although Riley has commented numerous times that Wall Street should “share the pain” in any restructuring plan, his press secretary, Tara Hutchison said Friday that Riley is only the facilitator offering his offices for continued negotiations. The County Commission will decide whether to approve any restructuring plan, she said.
“This is between the commission and Wall Street. It’s not between Alabama and Wall Street,” Hutchison said.