By Fred Woods

At last week’s regular Lee County Commission meeting, commissioners voted to reject the three bids received for construction of the Beulah Senior Center, to redesign building specifications and rebid the project. The three bids came in at approximately $360,000 higher than expected, The original base bids ranged from around $837,000 to about $853,000, roughly $360,000 higher than expected.
County Administrator Roger Rendleman attributed the higher than expected costs to federal requirements relative to wages and to a safe room tied to the $250,000. Alabama Department of Economic and Community Development (ADECA) grant. The grant comes from pass=through federal funds.
Lisa Sandt of the Lee-Russell Council of Governments believes that ADECA will extend the grant to allow for the rebid. However, as Chairman Bill English observed at an earlier commission meeting, the commission could well save money by rejecting the ADECA grant and building the senior center solely with county funds.
The commission deferred action on a Smiths Water and Sewer Authority board vacancy until the first regular meeting in January 2017. Noting that the vacancy does not occur until March 1, 2017, commissioners felt the delay would afford more time to investigate the qualifications of citizens interested in filling the position.
At the request of Commissioner Ham, the commission scheduled a work session immediately following the Dec. 12, meeting to discuss an improved method for determining budget funding levels for outside agencies in the annual commission budget,
In other action, the commission:
– approved two educational reimbursements and
– adopted the official  FY2017 Holiday schedule for county employees.