Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said on Wednesday that the county will pay off its $8.7 million debt to Erlanger Health System within the current tax cycle.
The announcement was made on Walker County's Facebook page and can be found here.
The debt was incurred during the prior administration of Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, when she backed $10 million of an infusion of funds by Erlanger to try to revive the ailing Hutcheson Tri County Hospital. The hospital eventually failed and Erlanger sued in Federal Court to have Walker County fulfill its pledge.
Dade County did not back any funds.
Catoosa County settled earlier with Erlanger.
Jim Hill, a candidate for commissioner in District One, said, "Earlier this morning I was pleased to hear of the ending of the Emergency Service fee which Walker County citizens were paying to clear up the Erlanger issue. This was great news to hear as paying off this debt will relieve the county to work toward greater projects. Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield shared via Facebook today that in just 2 years the fee had raised enough money to pay the debt and would be ending.
"It's not often we have a tax or fee go away, so this is welcome news for our citizens. Paying less on your property tax bill is a great thing.
"I look forward to working with our great citizens of Walker County to assure a bright future for everyone. I know there are more great stories just waiting to be told."