BRADENTON, Fla. - Facing the prospect of increasing sewer rates nearly 400% to pay debt service, the Jefferson County, Ala., Commission yesterday unanimously voted to suspend automatic sewer rate increases.

In a resolution, commissioners said that they would not consider taking action on rates until reports are received from a county-hired rate consultant and two special masters appointed by a federal court, which is considering if a receiver should be appointed to oversee the financially strapped sewer system.

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