by Greg Markley

Political Writer


For more than a year, Lee County commissioners have been discussing how best to handle problems on part of Lee Road 352 where residents with serious lung ailments live.

The issue arose again Monday, like a Mojave dust devil, after enzyme and “rock and tar” treatments were nixed. The LCC deferred the issue until a later meeting.

Several residents on this dirt road suffer from COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Neal Hall, then the county engineer, stated in 2011 that his department tried to alleviate the dust, with stone placed on the road to stabilize it. That worked for a spell. Next a dust retardant (liquid calcium chloride) was tried, costing about $2,000. That solution, too, ended up in the gutter after residents sought a better option.

“The rock and tar option seals the surface of the road off; there will be no dust,” said Justin Hardee, Lee County Engineer. “(After applying it) Lee Road 352 will have the nature and drive of a paved road.”

Hardee cautioned, however, that rock and tar might not work well on other roads, due to the variance in drainage problems in different areas.

With a projected cost of $3,500 for the small section of Lee Road 352 at issue, rock and tar was seen by Hardee and, at first, commissioners as having appeal.

“That’s the only thing in its favor, in my mind, is the cost,” said Mathan Holt, District 1 commissioner. “My only concern with this is we are just putting a Band-Aid on it.”

After that, a motion to accept the engineer’s advice to use a rock and tar treatment on Lee Road 352 for dust control was withdrawn.

Next came a motion to not proceed with an enzyme-based approach, which was approved.

Hardee earlier told the LCC that rock and tar would eventually crack and lose its dust-busting strength. In the end, no action was taken on this Beulah road, and the topic was advanced to the Aug. 13 meeting.

In other developments, the LCC:

Agreed to allow Care Ambulance Service to use the same radio frequency as the Smiths Station Fire and Rescue. This will improve communications and public safety, as patient status, needs and more can be better coordinated, said Daniel Sexton, a captain with SSF&R.

Chief Joe Waldon added that Care Ambulance’s use of the frequency had been approved by the Emergency Management Agency.

Kept for further discussion a request from the Genealogical Society of East Alabama to use the Tyner Building for storing its journals and files.

GSEA President Barbara Patton noted that the Building Inspector began to use the space formerly used by GSEA.

The group received space at the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library years ago but now the Library needs that area for other collections.

Set FY2013 budget work sessions to begin on Aug. 13.

Welcomed Chris Bozeman as Lee County’s Environmental Services Director, replacing Jack Marshall who retired at the end of June.

Bozeman’s appointment was announced by County Engineer Justin Hardee.