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Aug 12, 2011 8:22 AM by Kate Richards

Alabama county could file for bankruptcy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Commissioners in Alabama's largest county say they hope to vote on whether to settle with Wall Street or file the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Jefferson County commissioners have delayed a decision for two weeks while negotiating with creditors. Members say they expect to vote Friday on whether to accept a settlement offer or file bankruptcy over more than $4 billion in debt.

Despite the amount of debt, the worst effect of settling or bankruptcy will likely be higher sewer rates for county residents. Most of the debt is from sewer bonds. The county has already seen its creditworthiness downgraded.

The county has been trying to avoid filing bankruptcy for three years since the loans went bad in a mix of the sour economy and public corruption.

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