Jefferson County Responds To Opponents Of Its Bankruptcy Exit Plan

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/13/us-lloyds-shipping-idUSBRE9AC0N220131113

“The county’s plan should be confirmed. It is the result of extensive, arms’ length, and good faith negotiations, and the creditors have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the plan,” the county states Refinancing the remaining debt will give the county the flexibility to make substantial capital improvements required by federal environmental regulators, while still retiring the debt in full in 40 years, the county argues. The county says in its response that only two “substantive objections” to its plan are from the plaintiffs in two lawsuits – referred to as the Charles Wilson and Andrew Bennett suits – that both relate to the sewer debt. “The objecting parties are individual ratepayers who speak only for themselves, not for ratepayers as a whole, and their collective objections boil down to a single, core complaint – that sewer rates are too high,” the county states in its response. The county also has asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuits as part of confirmation of its bankruptcy exit plan. The county argues that a permanent freeze on sewer rates is impossible because of inflation, the need to make improvements to the sewer system, and “the good faith requirements” of its bankruptcy. Otherwise the county could be saddled with a series of extreme rate spikes imposed by an unelected receiver installed by creditors or even at the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if the county didn’t have the money to make improvements to comply with environmental laws, the county argues.

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