BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) - Commissioners for Alabama's most populous county have voted against filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history over bonds that went sour in the credit crunch.

The Jefferson County Commission rejected a bankruptcy proposal on a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

The majority of commissioners want to continue seeking an alternative, which may involve refinancing the $3.2 billion sewer bond debt, customer rate increases, possible federal assistance and a lowering of the amount owed to creditors.

Jefferson County is home to Birmingham.

It had borrowed money in a complex and risky series of transactions to pay for a massive court-ordered sewer system upgrade.

When the mortgage crisis hit and banks began tightening up on their lending, the interest rates on the debt ballooned.


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