Alabama County Set to Halt Services, Shut Buildings Over Budget

June 5 (Bloomberg) — Alabama’s most populous county is preparing to stop road maintenance, close courthouses and shutter services for the elderly after a court struck down taxes that pay for about 35 percent of its budget.

Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham, released a plan to cut $52 million from its budget as it appeals the ruling against its business and occupational taxes to the Alabama Supreme Court. Without that revenue, the county has said it is at risk of running out of money as soon as this month.

The loss of the tax money was another blow to a county that has been struggling to avoid bankruptcy since last year, when Wall Street’s financial crisis caused its interest bills to soar on more than $3 billion of bonds.

The proposed cuts, released today by county Commission President Bettye Fine Collins, would slash deeply into the government’s services and also include closing a nursing home for the indigent, declaring a moratorium on enforcing zoning and littering laws, and scrapping local development contracts.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in San Francisco atwselway@bloomberg.net.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=awnY4WwTlTlA

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