Walker County’s Erlanger Fee to be Eliminated

LaFayette, GA – Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield made an important announcement this morning that will benefit every property owner in Walker County.

Whitfield proclaimed an end to the Public Health Facilities and Services fee, the ordinance created to pay down the county’s debt to Erlanger Health System over the course of three years.  “We project we have collected enough from the Public Health Facilities and Services fee over the past two years to meet our obligation to Erlanger at the end of this tax cycle,” said Whitfield.  “This means the fee will not be charged on your next tax bill!”

According to the state of Georgia, the average home value in Walker County is $100,000.  The elimination of the fee will remove $140 from the average homeowner’s tax bill.

Walker County will take the necessary steps to formally end the fee in May by amending the ordinance that established it.  Those changes are scheduled to be finalized at the May 23, 2019 Commissioner Meeting.

In 2017, a federal judge ordered Walker County to pay Erlanger $8.7 million plus interest and attorney’s fees to cover its portion of a 2011 loan to keep Hutcheson Medical Center open.  Erlanger agreed to waive interest and attorney fees, as part of a settlement agreement in January 2018, provided Walker County made 13 quarterly payments.

“Dealing with this debt has been a tough chapter in our shared journey,” Whitfield added.  “I thank our citizens for the sacrifices made during this difficult time in our history.  Today, we turn the page.  Today, we start our own chapter in Walker County history.”

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