By Fred Woods

When completed the Sabal Trail pipeline will add $855,000 to Lee County property tax revenues according to Brian Fahrenthold, spokesman for the project. Fahrenthold updated the commission on developments since company officials first appeared before the commission nearly two years ago. The 515-mile pipeline will run from just outside Alexander City southeasterly to south-central Florida carrying natural gas to meet the power generation needs there.
Roughly 20.7 miles of the pipeline will be in Lee County with a little over half of the route paralleling Alabama Power and Power South powerline corridors and Sonat’s gas line corridor. Pipeline right-of-way will directly affect 82 tracts of land in the county. Rights-of-way will be 100 feet wide at first with 50 feet being returned to landowners after construction is completed.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2016 with completion expected by May 1, 2016.
Sheriff Jay Jones introduced Sgt. Rebecca Tate as the Opelika Exchange Club Officer of the Year. What makes this award all the more appealing is that Sgt. Tate was nominated by her peers.
Hardee also introduced Joel Hubbard as the new Chief Building Official for Lee County. Hubbard has worked for the county 9 years as a building inspector and became a certified building official in 2010.
Peter Byrd appeared before the commission to express his concerns about the limited sight distance intersection of Lee Road 106 (Green Valley Church Road) with Lee Road 146 (Moore’s Mill Road) with the increased traffic from East Lake subdivision. In spite of the intersection risks only one accident was reported for this intersection during the 5-year period 2009-2013.
The new County Meeting Center (old Johnson Gallery building) is now complete. Therefore the April 27 (next) commission meeting will be held there. Come early because the commissioners will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. prior to the regular meeting.
In other action the commission
– added liquor to the beer and wine off-premise license for Mike’s Package Store at the intersection of Lee Roads 401 and 166 in Beauregard,
– approved budget adjustments adding $150,000 to the resurfacing program and $53,000 to the EMA budget and, since sales tax revenues are keeping pace with projections, allocated two additional School Resource Deputy positions, bringing the total to eight for the sheriff’s office, and
– authorized Chairman  Bill English to sign Federal Aid agreements for two bridge replacement projects: one on Lee Road 188 just south of Rowells Crossward in District 1 and the other in District 4 on Lee Road 27 over Odom Creek about one-half mile from the Macon County line and just east of the Society Hill Road.