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Ala. County Readies for Possible Record Bankruptcy

Associated Press
Tuesday, 26 Jul 2011 | 12:53 PM ET

Alabama's largest county is laying the groundwork for filing what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, over a more than $3 billion debt for its sewer system.

The Jefferson County Commission approved resolutions Tuesday to hire prominent bankruptcy lawyers and to sell bonds later in case money is needed to emerge from bankruptcy.

Jefferson is Alabama's most populous county and seat of Birmingham. It's been trying for three years to avoid filing bankruptcy over debt payments it can no longer afford.

Two of the five commissioners say there's an 80 percent chance the county will file bankruptcy. The vote could come at a meeting scheduled for Thursday in Birmingham.

The commission president, David Carrington, says other possibilities include extending talks with creditors or accepting a settlement offer.

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