HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission voted unanimously to pay out a total of $884,517.76 to eight Marion County towns and the Marion County Health Department after attorneys for the commission have decided there is nothing more to litigate involving the Hospital Tax case.
The commission convened a special-called meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, with Fred Clements of Webb & Eley, the Montgomery-based law firm representing the commission. The commission immediately voted to go into executive session with Clements after convening the meeting.
Clements and the commission emerged two hours later.
“At this point, there is nothing more to litigate. We have taken it as far as we can. I would, at this point, recommend that the commission pay the judgement as written in Judge (John) Bentley’s order,” Clements told the commission.
In 2016, five Marion County municipalities—Winfield, Brilliant, Guin, Gu-Win and Twin—sued the commission, challenging the manner in which the commission began redistributing tax money due all towns in Marion County. The towns of Hackleburg, Hamilton and Bear Creek did not join the lawsuit.
In 2017, 25th Judicial District Judge John Bentley, now retired, ruled in favor of the towns. Commission attorneys with Webb & Eley appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court and in September, the court affirmed, without further opinion, Bentley’s ruling.
Clements told the commission that the towns were owed a total of $714,505.21 and the Marion County Health Department is owed a total of $114, 321.08. Interest to be paid on those amounts totaled $55,691.47, Clements said.
Commission chairman Bob Burleson asked for a motion to pay the judgement and all five commissioners voted in favor of paying the money.
“We’re certainly pleased with the outcome. It gets the money to the cities that they are due,” said Eddie Jackson of the Jasper-based law firm of Jackson, Fikes and Brakefield, who represented the five towns.
Jackson said one-third of the total amount will be subtracted for attorney fees.
The amount and interest due all the towns in Marion County will be split among them based on population data from the 2010 Census.
See complete story in the Journal Record.