Walker officials on Thursday said the county will begin operating an ambulance service on Dec. 31.

The current ambulance service is run by Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe and it serves Walker, Catoosa and Dade. Hutcheson will discontinue the service at the end of the year.

County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell announced the new county-operated service during her regular weekly meeting Thursday morning.

“I feel we can best serve our community through this plan by providing our own emergency ambulance service,” Heiskell said.

County coordinator David Ashburn said about 30 jobs will be created for the service.

The plan, as explained by Ashburn, is preliminary, but it calls for seven ambulances located throughout the county, with 15 emergency medical technicians and 15 paramedics.

The county is expected to spend about $1.1 million over the next two months outfitting itself with equipment and staff for the operation. The money will come from SLPOST, or special option local sales tax, dollars for funding.

Ashburn said he believes that once the operation is in place the county could see a profit from the service