BRADENTON, Fla. - Jefferson County, Ala., commissioners should increase sewer rates 25%, implement a series of revenue enhancements, and continue working toward restructuring the sewer system's massive debt load, two court-appointed masters said Tuesday.

In a 65-page report that is part of a federal lawsuit seeking a receiver for the county's sewer system, the special masters not only detail why they believe the suggested rate increases are reasonable, they also review the sewer system's operations, inefficiencies, billing practices, and rate increases since the county began working on a court-ordered consent decree in 1997 to rehabilitate the region's failing sewer system.

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