By Emily Lewy
Jefferson County, Alabama ( Birmingham) has received a lot of attention lately. The extent of their excess borrowing (aka ..spending) is almost unbelievable. An individual homeowner’s sewer bill that is now $50 a month is expected to be more than $200 a month before the current sewer loan deal is paid off. These folks will pay more the $2500 a year just to flush their waste!
Elise Le Guevel and her crew from national French TV were in Birmingham to “inoculate French viewers to our financial contagion.” It seems that Europeans are horrified that if this can happen in the United States, if could happen in their country, too.
Elise Le Guevel wanted a simple, understandable explanation for what happened. The writers struggled to find a simple explanation. It boils down to:
- Jefferson County government was overextended by elected officials who ignored the risks of such a huge undertaking.
- In an effort to protect the current commission from bankruptcy, a $500-an-hour sewer receiver (and big bank representative) recommended a settlement that pleases the state and big business.
- The lenders (banks) are absolved from their responsibility for inept business decisions.
- Residents no longer trust their leaders, but they will still be stuck paying the bills.
Questions that remain include, “What will be the effect on future growth? Will people choose to live in a place where they face exorbitant utility costs? Will the benefits of this sewer system outweigh the costs?
No individual and no government should ever borrow money or enter into any contract without careful examination of the risks and recognition of responsibility to the other party.
Advice to voters: Never vote for a candidate that you would not trust to put their hands in your pockets. As an elected official, that is what they do.
Facts taken from a story published: Sunday, September 18, 2011 By John Archibald –The Birmingham News
(Tamika Moore — The Birmingham News)
John Archibald’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Write him at
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