Deal closed: Jefferson County officially out of bankruptcy - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Deal closed: Jefferson County officially out of bankruptcy

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Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington signs the documents that mark the official end of the county's bankruptcy. Source: Jimmie Stephens Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington signs the documents that mark the official end of the county's bankruptcy. Source: Jimmie Stephens
Jefferson County Commission (Source: WBRC video) Jefferson County Commission (Source: WBRC video)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Jefferson County is officially out of bankruptcy.  Commission President David Carrington announced the news via Twitter, saying "Jeffco Sewer Debt closed at 9:17 a.m. this morning."

The Commission approved the sale of $1.7 billion in warrants November 20.

Jefferson County has been in bankruptcy for two years. Before the city of Detroit filed for protection, Jefferson County was the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history.

The deal calls for 6.9 percent interest on part of the debt which will make it expensive for sewer customers to pay off over the next four decades, but commissioners believe the economy will improve and the county will be able to cut that high debt in the future.

"I feel like a great weight has been lifted," Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said after the papers were signed to officially end the county's bankruptcy.

"The commission has shown its resolve on so many issues to cleaning up a mess we didn't create, we inherited, and I'm proud of everyone who sits up here," Carrington said.

Jefferson County Commissioners are looking to the future to grow the county by bringing new businesses and homeowners.

"We were able to deal with the creditors in a fair and reasonable manner," Stephens said.

Commissioner George Bowman  opposed the plan. He said it will be up to the sewer customers to pay off $5 billion worth of interest for up to four decades of the sewer debt.

"The money is coming out of people who pay for sewer bills, each and every month." Bowman said.

Attorney Calvin Grigsby is asking a federal appeals court to reject the bankruptcy plan because of the sewer rates. Most of the commission does not believe the appeal will go anywhere.

While not every commissioner supported the plan, the commissioners worked together during bankruptcy and they plan to work together to improve the county in the future.

"If it wasn't for this commission, this would not happen. The previous commission tried to solve the problem for four years and nothing happened," Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said.

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