By Fred Woods
Opelika Observer

The Lee County Commission, in a relatively short meeting last week, discussed but deferred action on the renewal of the pilot spay-neuter program (to give commissioners time to study new materials), passed a bond resolution for the Lee County Board of Education and filled a number of vacancies on several county boards.
Fourth District Commissioner Robert Ham, who has become a vocal leader on the commission since the spay-neuter program was introduced, has discussed program continuation with the leadership of all four Lee County government entities (Lee County Commission and mayors of Auburn, Opelika and Smiths Station) and has gained agreements on program continuation and a funding formula and, more importantly, commitment that a meaningful program evaluation will be based on several years of program operation, say 9 –10 years. This seems to commit all entities to continuing the program for at least this period of time
The four entities have agreed on a two-part funding formula whereby one-half the cost of the program will be based on each entity’s share of total county population and the other half on each entity’s share of total surgeries. For the next fiscal year (FY- 2019), surgery data will include results since the inception of the program in spring 2017. Thereafter data will be from the preceding fiscal year.
Since Lee County leads in both population and surgery numbers, its share of program funding for FY-2019 will be 40% of the total.
Although all participants see areas for improvement, benefits include:
• reduced euthanasia rate and increases in adoption and owner return rates
• there seems to be a good feeling about initial results and a strong commitment to continue and improve the Lee County Spay-Neuter Program.
The Lee County Board of Education is in the process of borrowing $23 million to “pay the costs of acquiring, constructing and renovating certain capital improvements to Beauregard High School,” and asked the Lee County Commission to provide a resolution assuring that the commission has no intention of rescinding or discontinuing the county sales tax, at least during the period of the school board loan to provide assurances to prospective lenders regarding the safety of the loan. The resolution was approved unanimously.
In other action, the commission:
• announced that two vacancies will arise on the Lee County Youth Development Board at the end of September,
• appointed Tara Barr as the District 2 representative on the Lee County Recreation Board,
• re-appointed Joel Pittard, David Smalley and Larry Fillmer to the East Alabama Health Care Authority (The commission had previously appointed Dozier Smith T to fill an unexpired term),
• re-appointed Jay Jones and Randy Causey to the E-9-1-1 Board, and
• appointed Mark Aderholdt to the Loachapoka Water Authority Board.