By Fred Woods

In a rather routine meeting the Lee County Commission approved the 2015 Property Tax Levy, a required action that enables Revenue Commissioner Oline Price to collect county taxes. Chairman Bill English emphasized that this action did not involve any new taxes but was a routine annual event.
The only increase is in the county’s solid waste disposal fee, which increases annually by the amount of increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This year’s rates are $17.43 monthly for residents and $52.32 for all others. These amounts are collected in one lump sum along with ad valorem taxes.
The commission also agreed, by a 3-1 vote, to pay half the cost of replacing the Museum of East Alabama’s heat pump servicing the museum’s annex. The county’s half is $2,700. The Opelika City Council had previously provided the other half from members’ discretionary funds with each member contributing $540.
It was erroneously reported elsewhere that the museum is closed until the heat pump is replaced. This is not true.
Commissioner John Andrew Harris voted “no” because he said he felt the commission was being inconsistent, previously telling many county residents and organizations that the county had no money to meet their special requests.
The commission also discussed briefly County Administrator Roger Rendleman’s draft of policies and procedures for the new Lee County Meeting Center (formerly the Johnson Gallery building). Part of the discussion focused on avoiding unfair competition with nearby commercial meeting venues.
In other action the commission:
– approved a variance to county subdivision regulations for The Villas of St. Andrews (near Phenix City) after finding the variance did not decrease public safety,
– set speed limits at 25 miles per hour for Flat Stone Estates and Highway 400 estates housing developments,
– approved continuation of county partnership with Opelika, Auburn and Auburn University in applying for Alabama Recycling Fund Grants and
– accepted bid from Fifth Avenue Cleaners to dry clean and launder Sheriff’s Department uniforms.