In a court filing Sunday, Jefferson County, Ala., said that major creditors holding the county’s sewer debt have been invited to “testify” before the County Commission at its next sewer rate hearing on July 24.
The filing did not specify what the creditors should talk about.
No rate proposal is currently being considered.
Letters of invitation were sent to the trustee, Bank of New York Mellon, as well as to creditors JPMorgan, Bank of America, Bank of Nova Scotia, Sociètè Gènèrale, State Street Bank & Trust Co., Lloyds TSB Bank PLC, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. and Syncora Guarantee Inc., Jefferson County’s filing said.
The public hearing on July 24 will be the second of several the county has scheduled on sewer rates that secure its $3.14 billion of sewer debt on which it has defaulted.
Rates have not been raised in more than four years, and the sewer debt was one reason Jefferson County in November filed for the largest municipal chapter 9 bankruptcy.
The loss of general fund revenues also prompted the filing.
Commissioners have said the hearings are being held so they can listen to presentations made by invited expert witnesses and to hear comments of residents.
Rate increases have been controversial because many of the sewer system’s customers are some of the poorest in the county.
The county has hired Chicago-based Galardi Rothstein Group as a rate consultant, and at some point plans to unveil a proposal.
The commission held the first hearing on the sewer system June 12 in Birmingham, the county seat.
A special website has been created for the public to access documents related to the hearings, and to make comments at www.jeffcosewerhearings.org.