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Walker County Newsletter  Issue 21
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In this issue:
  • Erlanger Fee to End A Year Early!
  • Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day Returns
  • Ironman Invests in Walker County
  • Want to be in a Movie? The Farmer and the Belle is Now Filming in Walker County!
  • Rabies Clinics Planned in May
  • Quick Hits: DRIVES is coming, Chief Hodge Honored, Bluegrass Festival at Mountain Cove Farms and How Walker Works
Erlanger Fee to End A Year Early!
 


Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield made an important announcement today that will benefit every property owner in Walker County.  (Watch the announcement here)

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.”

Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day Returns This Saturday!

 
Walker County residents will have a chance to participate in a community clean-up effort, as the county’s popular Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day returns. On Saturday, April 27th, the Walker County Landfill will accept tires free of charge from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The community removed 6,741 tires during last year’s Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day event, an 18% increase over 2017. Tires were sent to an approved recycling center and turned into industrial fuel or rubber mulch for landscaping and playground applications.

During the amnesty event, car and light truck tires with wheel sizes 20 inches or less will be accepted, as well as ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tires. Tires must be dismounted from wheels and free of mud and debris. Tires with rims and large truck, tractor or heavy equipment tires are not eligible for amnesty.

Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day is only for residents, not for commercial businesses. Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or current utility bill, will be required to dispose of tires for free during the amnesty event. Those participating will also be required to unload their own tires and adhere to a limit of 25 tires per vehicle.

Residents unable to transport tires to the landfill should contact one of Walker County’s approved amnesty partners. The City of Rossville, Chattanooga Valley Lions Club and Wilson Road Neighborhood Group are among those participating. Specific contact information can be found at walkercountyga.gov/tires. These groups are willing to help transport tires free of charge.

Properly disposing of scrap tires helps eliminate mosquito breeding sites. The wet spring has provided mosquitoes with plenty of locations to lay their eggs. A female mosquito only needs an inch of standing water to lay a batch of over 100 eggs. More mosquitoes this summer could hasten the spread of West Nile Virus.
Ironman Invests $160,000 in Walker County
 


The IRONMAN Foundation® will provide a $160,000 grant over the course of five years to Walker County in advance of the Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN® 70.3® Chattanooga presented by McKee: A Family Bakery on May 19 and the Little Debbie IRONMAN® Chattanooga presented by McKee: A Family Bakery on September 29. The community grant will help install 40 new fire hydrants in needed locations, providing additional coverage for our first responders to handle emergency situations.
 
“It is the mission of the IRONMAN Foundation to create positive, tangible impact in our race communities through grant funding and volunteerism,” said Sarah Hartmann, Executive Director of the IRONMAN Foundation. “With this partnership, we are able to directly impact the safety of Walker County residents. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Walker County and honored to support the community.”
 
“We are honored and delighted to continue hosting IRONMAN events in Walker County,” said Shannon Whitfield, Walker County Commissioner. “This prestigious and global event provides us with an outstanding opportunity to showcase our beautiful county. We appreciate our IRONMAN partners making this investment in our community.”
 
IRONMAN athletes will experience the beauty of Walker County as they ride through the area on the bike course for both Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee: A Family Bakery and Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga presented by McKee: A Family Bakery. This bike course was voted as one of the top 10 courses on both the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 global circuit in the 2017 and 2018 Athlete Choice Awards.
 
“IRONMAN provides a valuable economic benefit to Walker County far beyond just this investment,” added Robert Wardlaw, Economic & Community Development Director for Walker County. “We have already enjoyed numerous return visits from previous IRONMAN athletes who eat, shop and stay in Walker County. They have all discovered why Walker Rocks!”
"The Farmer and the Belle" Now Filming in Walker County!
 


Lights, Camera, Action!  Walker County welcomes the cast and crew of The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland to our community. The Farmer and The Belle is about a New York City fashion model who spends the holidays in a small town and falls in love with a childhood pen pal/farmer.  She helps her friend save his hometown’s “SantaLand” and learns that true beauty comes from the heart.  Jenn Gotzon Chandler (Frost/NixonGod's Not Dead 2), Corbin Bernsen (Major LeagueLA Law) and John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville) are among the credited cast.

Want to be part of the movie?  A casting call for extras is currently underway.  Here's how to apply: send photographs of yourself (head and body shots) along with your age and resume (if applicable) to SantalandCasting@gmail.com and be sure to put WALKER COUNTY EXTRA in the subject line and indicate which day(s) you would like to be considered for and whether you can fully commit to those days.  

Thursday, 4/25: 5 "camp kids" needed, ages 10-12; cannot appear in any other scenes as this is a flashback scene with young Belle and Josh; expected filming first 1/2 of day

Saturday, 4/27: Barn Church, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; expected filming first 1/2 of day

Sunday, 4/28: Santaland, 50-60 total needed; all ages/ethnicities; 5 ladies needed age 50s-70s, 10 additional ladies (50s-70s, 4 will be featured with high fashion makeup); 3 "crew members" needed, males, 20s-30s; expected filming first 3/4 of day

Friday, 5/3: Santaland, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; expected filming all day
Saturday, 5/4: Santaland, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; 10 additional ladies needed, various ages; expected filming all day

Sunday, 5/5: Santaland, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; 4 children (ages 9-11) needed for nativity scene; expected filming all day

Monday, 5/6: Santaland, 10-30 volunteers needed, with change of clothes; expected filming first 1/2 of day

Thursday, 5/9: Christmas Tree Farm, 30 needed, families with all ages/ethnicities; expected filming 1/2 day

Saturday, 5/11: Barn Dance, adults only; need couples but can pair single extras with other single extras to make pairs; expected filming 1/2 night, 7 pm - 12 am

Sunday, 5/12: Airport; 8 travelers needed, various ages/types; 1 "Uber driver" needed (would be great if also available 4/29); expected filming 1/2 day
Walker County Rabies Clinics Planned in May
 

The Walker County UGA Extension Office and your local veterinarian have teamed up to provide low cost rabies clinics again this year.  Protect your family from a deadly disease by bringing your dog and/or cat to one of the locations listed below to be vaccinated.  The cost is just $15, cash only.  Vets will provide a certificate and tag.  Please note, although Walker County now allows pets to be vaccinated using the 3 year shot, this clinic will only be providing the 1 year vaccine.
 

Saturday, May 11:

Time Location
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Gordon Lee High School
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Rock Spring Elementary
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Naomi Elementary

Saturday, May 25:

Time Location
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Gilbert Elementary
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Walker County Animal Shelter
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Chattanooga Valley Elementary

 

Quick Hits

The Walker County Tax Commissioner's Office will close at Noon on May 23rd and not reopen until 10:00 a.m. on May 28th.  The closure is necessary to install DRIVES, a new state-mandated vehicle registration and titling system.

Everyone with a birthdate in May should process their vehicle transactions on or before May 17th to avoid any issues.

This system upgrade will impact all local tag offices in Georgia, not just Walker County.

DRIVES will modernize the data input system for tags and titles, provide agencies with interconnectivity and improve the customer experience by expanding the ability for mobile, Internet and kiosk transactions.
 

The 29th Annual Boxcar Pinion Bluegrass Festival returns to Mountain Cove Farms Resort May 2nd, 3rd & 4th. IIIrd Tyme Out, Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road, Edgar Loudermilk Band with Jeff Autry, The Crowe Brothers, Larry Efaw and The Bluegrass Mountaineers, Frances Mooney & Fontana Sunset and Audie Blaylock and Redline are scheduled to appear, plus many of your favorite local and regional bluegrass bands.  Ticket information is available at foreverbluegrass.com.

Walker County Fire Chief Blake Hodge received local and state recognition during a recent Commissioner meeting.

Hodge successfully completed the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy’s four year Executive Fire Officer Program. The EFOP focuses on leadership development, lifelong learning, being proactive instead of reactive and utilizing research and analytics to reduce risk, among other skills.

Chief Hodge is one of only 72 Executive Fire Officers in the state of Georgia.

Along with a local proclamation to recognize this accomplishment, Chief Hodge received a proclamation from Georgia’s Insurance & Safety Fire Commissioner for the county’s campaign to install smoke alarms in every home in Walker County at no expense to citizens.  305 smoke alarms have been installed as of March 31, 2019.

The latest How Walker Works feature looks at the county's new business license, which takes effect July 1 for new businesses and January 1, 2020 for existing businesses. Along with offering benefits to business owners, consumers will now be able to see which businesses are following the rules and which are not. Licensing will also provide more accurate economic development data to help recruit industry.  Watch the segment on our Youtube channel







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