Lee County Commission caves on budget issues

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By Fred Woods
Editor

The Lee County Commission reversed itself last Monday night and restored 2017 budget funding cuts to the Horseshoe Bend Regional Library and the Lee County Historical Society. Twenty-eight people in the audience raised their hands when Commission Chairman Bill English asked how many were there for the budget issue. Most supported restoration of HBRL funds including several who had testified about HBRL value to Lee County citizens at the previous commission meeting, although the Historical Society was well represented. In 2016, Lee County provided roughly 47 percent of HBRL’s local funding.
The Lee County Historical Society supporters testified as to their many hours of volunteer work, including the previous weekend at Pioneer Days, the society’s largest annual fundraiser. When Commissioner Harris asked how much money was raised and suggested delaying any budget action until these numbers were known, he was quickly silenced by Commissioner Eckman who had introduced the motion to restore funds to both groups to 2016 levels. The motion passed by a 4 – 1 vote.
After the vote, Commissioner Robert Ham proposed a work session, set to follow the Dec. 12 commission meeting, to discuss improved ways of deciding county funding for outside agencies.
Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Adelberto Rosa was recognized as this year’s recipient of the James Anderson Award, presented annually by the Smiths Station City Council. The award honors the memory of Sheriff’s Deputy James Anderson who was killed in the line of duty several years ago in the Smiths Station area. Deputy Rosa, in expressing his appreciation for the award, vowed that he and others who knew Deputy Anderson were committed to keeping his memory alive.
Since year-end FY2016 numbers were available, the commission voted to amend the FY 2017 budget to establish a capital budget in the General Fund. As usual capital item requests exceed funds available so several funding decisions will have to be made later on. Items funded include improvements at the jail and Justice Center , the new county environmental facility, the county contribution to the Bush Road Project and several other projects.
In other action, the commission:
– approved a Lounge Retail Liquor LIcense for the Iron Horse Saloon, 11186 AL Hwy. 51 in Beauregard,
– approved an off-premise beer and wine license for the Dollar General Store at 61 LR 379 in Smiths Station,
– approved, at County Administrator Rendleman’s request, personnel policy revisions that will generally take effect on Jan. 1, 2017,
– approved Arthur Lee Jones, Talitha Norris, Thomas Peterson III and Edna Ward for four-year terms on the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Committee, leaving one vacancy,
– reduced speed limits on Lee Roads 215, 216, 218, 485, 495 and 526, all in the Sessions Subdivision south of Smiths Station, from 45 mph to 25 mph,
– accepted LR’s 2200 and 2212 in the Holland Creek Subdivision off LR 248 in Smiths Station for county maintenance,
– voted to reject a single bid for electrical work at the Lee County Detention Center and allow Mr Rendleman to negotiate for the project and
– because of the election and term of office requirements, set the date of the next meeting of the Lee County Commission for Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.

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