The headline in this story has been changed to fix a grammar issue.
A judge ruled this morning that Walker County can issue a bond to pay off a $10 million loan.
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Jon "Bo" Wood said during a hearing that the county's leaders have proved their bond is legal. The county's Development Authority plans to issue a $15.3 million bond Wednesday and expects an interest rate of about 5.67 percent.
The members of the Development Authority board will spend $5 million on industrial parks and give Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell the other $10 million to pay off a tax anticipation note that is due Dec. 31.
Heiskell took out that tax anticipation note in March to pay off a $4.7 million loan that she had guaranteed in 2013 on behalf of Hutcheson Medical Center. She said she spent the rest of the money on day-to-day expenses to keep county operations running.
A Walker County taxpayer objected to the hearing this morning, arguing that the residents didn't have enough time to review the details of the bond and question county leaders.
"This is so important," said Jill Wyse, who owns property in Rising Fawn, Ga., but does not live there full time. "It's going to affect our grand children's children."
The bond will last 20 years, and the county has agreed to levy up to 1 mill of property taxes every year to make payments on the bond. Heiskell said 1 mill currently amounts to about $900,000.
County Attorney Don Oliver argued this morning that the hearing was not about whether resident had enough time to voice concerns: It was about whether the bond was legal.
"We have met our burden," Oliver told Wood. "I'll stand on the evidence."