Jeffco hoping for lawmaker help before making cuts | News
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC)- More than 700 employees with Jefferson County will learn tomorrow what is next for their jobs. On Saturday, the county will notify employees about cuts, early retirements and re-assignments to deal with a funding crunch.
County commissioners say the only way to solve this crisis is help from state lawmakers. Some lawmakers appear to believe any solution will not come until a special session later in the summer. In fact, Governor Robert Bentley told them Thursday to find agreement and deal with the problem in the current session or perhaps adding it to a special session set for May.
So far, Jefferson County lawmakers in the House and Senate have not reached a deal. On Thursday, Senator Jabo Waggoner was able to pass a bill in the Senate to enable the bankrupt county to temporarily raise an occupational tax or sales tax. He calls it the "distressed counties" bill. It now goes to the House, where it could receive a vote on Wednesday or Thursday. Homewood Republican Paul DeMarco has concerns about the bill.
"The county is in bankruptcy. We have a lot of systemic problems. It doesn't address all the problems. I think that's part of the problem. We'll take a look at the bill and see what that bill may finally look like," said DeMarco.
"I'm supporting whatever we can do at this point to get people back to work and get services up and running and some kind of reserves for funding for Jefferson County's future growth," said Representative Merika Coleman when discussing the issue on Good Day Alabama.
Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington says around 75 employees could lose their jobs on Saturday and another 70 could be cut from Jobs and Transportation when the commission hears from the Personnel Board. He adds that some jobs could come back, but no more than 100. As far as the courthouse lines go, Commissioner Carrington says that passing the "distressed counties" bill plus installing software upgrades could go a long way towards shrinking the lines.
One bill in the House would allow the occupational tax to be reinstated with the requirement it is lowered equally to any increase of the sewer rates. Right now, that bill is "contested," meaning it will not be brought up for a vote unless opponents drop their contest.
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