Jefferson County sewer rates to increase this fall

After a public hearing Monday morning, Jefferson County commissioners approved a sewer rate increase beginning November 1.

The increase is{}a key part of the county's plan to exit bankruptcy by the end of the year and pay off a refinanced debt of approximately $1.8 billion.

The resolution includes a $5 base charge increase{}for all sewer customers. Non-residential rates{}are set to increase{}by 3.49 percent, and both residential and non-residential rates will increase 7.89 percent for two years starting in 2014.

Approximately 30 residents packed the commission chambers to voice their opinions and concerns on the sewer rate hikes.

"We can't pay it, and that's a disgrace," said Jefferson Co. resident Olivia Thompson.

Commission president David Carrington said it's the "best deal I can get" but admitted he believes the rates are at the "outer edge" of reasonable.

"I think it's been clear by the commissioners...that we're not coming with additional rate increases to solve this problem," said Carrington. "It needs to come with interest or it needs to come with creditor concessions."

The commissioner's vote was an important step before a Nov. 12 confirmation hearing in bankruptcy court.


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