The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 31, 2013

Hearing opens in Jefferson County bankruptcy case



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos was among the first witnesses called as a hearing began before a bankruptcy judge.

The hearing this week is aimed at determining whether county sewer bondholders will be allowed to go back to state court to force higher sewer rates.

Al.com reports (http://bit.ly/11f8z7O) that the hearing before Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Thomas Bennett deals with motions by The Bank of New York Mellon and other creditors that ask him to lift the automatic-stay on legal action against the bankrupt county.

Lifting the stay would free bondholders to seek through state court the enactment of sewer rate increases at a higher level than the ones Jefferson County Commission approved Nov. 6.

The hearing is expected to last through Friday.

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