Commissioners Bettye Fine, William Bell and Shelia Smoot provided the three signatures to put the resolution before the commission without sending it through the normal committee process. Commissioners Jim Carns and Bobby Humphryes did not sign it.
The resolution would implement a $12 fee for '93processing each application for private meter credit, for the purpose of recovering the costs of administering the private meter program.'94
County officials estimate the new fee will raise between $250,000 and $500,000 a year, barely a dent in the $3.8 billion the county owes to Wall Street.
The commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday on the fee increase.
The same resolution would authorize county department heads and consultants to examine a shopping list of options, including minimum fees for service, impact fees and fees for industries and septic tank users.
During the commission'92s Thursday work session,'a0 commissioners Bell, Smoot and Collins argued that the resolution only prepares the county for rate increases and fees if the Alabama Legislature does not provide some sort of relief for the county.
Commissioner Jim Carns said he opposes one component of the resolution which would takes steps toward capitalizing labor costs.
'93I vehemently oppose item no two where we are capitalizing labor,'94 Carns said. '93Enron did that.'94
The county is trying to show some action toward resolving the debt crisis. U.S. District Judge David Proctor has told the county that, without such action, he would be more inclined to put the county into receivership, county officials said.
The commission also voted to approve yet another forbearance agreement on the county'92s general obligation debt. That extension is necessary to give the Legislature time to renew the county'92s occupational tax. If the Legislature does not renew the tax, the county might default on the debt.
'93You don'92t have to be a financial expert to see that if we don'92t have income, we are going to be in serious trouble,'94 said Patrick Darby, a Bradley Arant lawyer working for the county.