>Western Tribune column August 13

>This column from today’s paper is about the sewer crisis. FYI, today there will be a “public hearing” in Bessemer about the status of the sewer deal. This ought to be interesting.

JEFFERSON COUNTY COMMISSION
PUBLIC HEARING
RE: SEWER STATUS
Hosted by
Commissioners Bobby Humphreys & Jim Carnes

A public hearing will be held on
Wednesday, August 13
7 p.m
Bessemer Civic Center

The reference to “encyclopedia” in the column refers to a letter printed in last week’s Tribune from Dr. Doug Smith of Bessemer, who recommended an encyclopedia to check my facts regarding drilling for oil. Of course he offered no facts of his on. This is the same right winger who compared me to Neville Chamberlain, and to which I defended my opinions here.

Western Tribune column

I sometimes comment on Larry Langford even though he is not my mayor because he is so funny.

For instance, asking for the price of a Cadillac Escalade and then throwing a two year old hissy fit when questioned about it. “I resent how we focus on the mundane and the stupid…” he said. Like Olympics in Birmingham, perhaps?

And now that Langford is no longer on the Jefferson County Commission, I rarely comment about them either, other than Bettye Fine Collins. She sometimes deserves special attention. Like when she commented on our new courthouse, “Why in the world are we building a $100 million deal in Bessemer?”

But this commission is costing me, and you, a lot of money.

Things may change before this is printed, but as it stands now the commission wants Governor Riley to call a special session so legislators could enact their latest scheme that would raise taxes and extend them for a long, long time. I think the three commissioners who favor this plan are hoping the increased taxes will be blamed on the legislature and voters and not themselves. Sly.

Bankruptcy is the other option. Alabama pension fund chief David Bronner has proposed the county file bankruptcy on the system, and let Retirement Systems of Alabama (or another entity) buy it for a couple of billion dollars. Creditors would still be in the hole for over one billion dollars, but could pursue money from the bond insurers.

But, no new taxes for residents.

The commission has been dodging payments for months and has dangled gambling (which, if you think about it, is what got the county into this mess) and pilfering (the school tax) as a solution, but those did not fly.

I sure don’t have a solution but there is one plan they haven’t considered yet. Develop a “sewage to bio-diesel” program, modify county vehicles to run on it, and use the money saved to pay down the debt.

According to an “Encyclopedia” (which apparently is the only source of information some people understand), I have learned that the Department of Energy says algae grown on sewage retention ponds yields 30 times more energy per acre than soybeans. And next month’s Popular Mechanics magazine, while not mentioning sewage, has an article that says several “algae to fuel” facilities are scheduled to come on line by 2012.

Now if we can just do something about that exhaust.

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