1988

Jefferson County imposes one-half percent occupational tax

1996

County ordered to repair / rebuild its sewer system pursuant to a consent decree with the EPA


1997

County begins borrowing funds to repair and build new sewers

1999

Jefferson County Legislators pass law to earmark local taxes for their own projects (over objection of the County), then later vote to repeal the County's 1988 occupational tax law

2000

County wins challenge to Legislators' actions, and 1988 occupational tax is reinstated based on argument that local bills may not be decided by local legislators only; vote must go to full legislature

2001-2003 Jefferson County issues $3.6 million of sewer revenue warrants to pay for improvements to sewer system.
2003

After a series of reports in the Birmingham News bring public outcry, the Jefferson County Commission hires BE&K, Inc., an international engineering firm, to review the sewer construction program and report its findings

2004-2005

County borrows $1.05 billion for school construction, adding significantly to the County's total debts

2005

State Supreme Court rules that votes on local bills may be taken only by local legislators (as opposed to requiring vote from full legislature)

A multi-count indictment naming 21 defendants is filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in connection with alleged bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice

2007

Jefferson County Legislators file lawsuit opposing the County's 1988 occupational tax (based on the 2005 State Supreme Court ruling)

Sewer debt is tied to complex derivatives intended to save money

2008

Markets collapse and interest rates soar on County's sewer debt

Jefferson County defaults on sewer warrants

2009

Federal district court rules that Indenture Trustee has proven entitlement to appointment of receiver, but abstains from taking any action.

Indenture Trustee brings suit in Jefferson County Circuit Court

September 2010 Jefferson County Circuit Court appoints receiver to take over operations of sewer system.
Spring 2011

Receiver’s recommendations to repay County’s sewer warrants include raising sewer rates by as much as 25% in the first year, with additional increases dependent upon other measures taken to reduce the county's indebtedness related to the sewer system

September 2011

County agrees on a tentative plan that is projected to cap future rate increases at 8.2% per year for three years, and 3.25% per year after that

November 2011

Negotiations with creditors falter

Unwilling to settle with its creditors, Jefferson County files largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history