By Fred Woods
Opelika Observer

At last week’s regular meeting Lee County Commissioners, in anticipation of Alabama Power’s construction of a new power substation just inside the Auburn city limits, voted to restrict truck traffic on portions of Lee Roads 80 and 81. The Highway Department asked the commission to designate a 1.0 mile segment of LR 80 extending east from the junction of LR’s 80 and 188 along LR 80 as a “No Trucks” or “No Through Trucks” route. The commission, on its own volition, added Lee Road 81, from LR 188 to the Auburn city limits, as a “No Through Trucks” zone.
According to Justin Hardee, Lee County Engineer, Alabama Power Company is constructing the new power substation and, as in the past with similar projects, county roads are subject to an increased amount of heavy truck traffic. The “No Through Trucks” route designation will ensure that heavy truck traffic does not impact these roads and will keep through trucks on alternate routes better suited to handle heavy loads.
The commission also approved, on a 4 – 1 vote, use of Highway Department personnel and equipment to address erosion and drainage problems at the Lee County Recreation Park in Smiths Station. The work includes installing a drop inlet and grate and a number of loads of material to dress slopes and then seed and mulch the affected area. Mr. Hardee indicated the work would take a week to a week and a half.
Commissioners’ approval was necessary because the work is outside the roads and rights-of-way of Lee County. Mr. Harris voted “no” because, since there is a separately designated county recreation fund financed by a one-half cent county sales tax, county recreational facilities should pay for their own maintenance.
With the replacement land purchases for recreational facilities in Beulah and Beauregard now completed, the design and development phases can now begin. At County Administrator Rendleman’s request, commissioners approved the Foresite Group of Atlanta for this work. Mr. Rendleman indicated that the Group’s fees were reasonable and that they were already familiar with both properties as well as the Lee County Recreation Master Plan for both areas. Rendleman also reminded commissioners that Foresite’s original design work was responsible for identifying the total unsuitability of the original properties for recreational use.
In other actions, the commission:
– approved five (5) percent pay raises ( four percent merit plus one percent COLA ) for County Administrator Rendleman and County Engineer Hardee. The two employees are the only county employees evaluated directly by commissioners and this represents their first merit raises since 2014;
– reappointed (second reading) Angela Burque, Clifford Jones and Cecil Yarborough to the Lee County Department of Human Resources Board;
– re-nominated ( first reading ) Julie Rendleman to the Public Building Authority and nominated Garnett McCollum to the Beulah Utilities District Board; and
– approved several liquor-related license transfers due to ownership changes.