By Fred Woods

The Lee County Commission held a house-warming and dedication for the new Lee County Meeting Center prior to the commission meeting and then held the meeting in the new facility.
Peter Byrd appeared before the commission for the second time to express his concerns over the East Lake subdivision connection to Lee Road 106 (Green Chapel Road) to use it as access to Lee Road 146 (Moore’s Mill Road), a major thoroughfare and an already dangerous intersection with a limited sight distance for west-bound traffic (headed towards Auburn).
Mr. Byrd cited Lee County’s published Access  Management Policy as prohibiting access to county roads without first securing an access permit from the Lee County Commission. Commission Chair Bill English said he did not know if this permit had been obtained.
It had been speculated during Byrd’s previous appearance that the Auburn Fire Department had taken it upon themselves to require the additional egress without regard to any other authority,  but no one was certain.
Once again, no action was taken nor were Byrd’s concerns addressed.
Commissioner Robert Ham reported that the ADECA grant which had been applied for by the Lee-Russell Council of Governments on behalf of the Beulah Senior Center has not been awarded as expected. Ham stated that he and appropriate Lee-Russell COG personnel had met with ADECA personnel, discussed areas of the grant application needing improvement, and were planning to resubmit the application.
Coincidentally Cara Stallman, a professional grants writer from the firm Grant Management of Fairhope, appeared before the commission, at the request of Harris, to introduce her grants consulting firm. She suggested that private grants writers might have a greater incentive to write successful grants applications as they did not get paid unless the applications were funded.
The commission, at County Administrator Roger Rendleman’s request, approved two change orders resulting in a savings to the county of just over $66,000 on a total county expenditure of roughly $9.3 million. The first change order reduced the T.K. Davis Justice Center Expansion by a little over $44,000 and closed out the contract. The second, for $22,000, closed out the contract for the Lee County Meeting Center. Commissioners praised Rendleman, architect Randy Wilson and the contractors for bringing in both projects under budget.
The commission also approved an 80:20 split between park and facility construction (80 percent) and recreation area (Beauregard, Beulah, Loachapoka and Smiths Station) support (20 percent) as well as a request for proposal process for planning and designing recreational facilities.
Collections from the one-cent sales tax levied on unincorporated portions of the county totaled roughly $385,000 for the first four months of the fiscal year with recreation’s half coming to $192,511.23. That projects out to $462,000 for the year, more money than has ever been provided for county recreation in the past and that’s just the first year.
Now the challenge is to get a functioning Lee County Recreation Board with members who will live up to this challenge including, at a minimum, coming to board meetings.
In other action the commission:
– authorized the Highway Department to contract with ALDOT for resurfacing 2.8 miles of LR 379 from LR 372 to the Chambers County line and 0.6 miles of Summerville Road (LR 248) from LR 243 to Hwy. 280
– was informed that the long-delayed resurfacing of LR 47 (Pierce Chapel Road) would begin on April 29 with the road being closed to all but local traffic as of that day
– heard Ham’s nomination of Linda Holt for a vacancy on the Beulah Water Authority Board (first reading).