By Michelle Key

With progress continuing on the construction of two new sports parks in the Beauregard and Beulah communities, the Lee County Commission voted to create a parks manager position during their meeting on Monday night.

According to a description provided on the county website, the “manager position will not only manage the physical facilities’ maintenance, but also coordinate usage of the facilities with the recreation associations, will provide better support to the City of Smiths Station related to our long standing Smiths Station Sports Park, and will lead efforts to further develop recreational opportunities in Lee County.” The pay range is $56,954.47 to $86,001.25.

In other business during Monday night’s meeting, the commission:

• ratified and approved claims and procurement card transactions from April 2020

• approved temporary COVID-19 personnel policies. The changes stem from the reopening of county offices and departments to the public under the CDC restriction guidelines. Additional policies are included to add specific guidance for misused or failure to follow the policies as outlined. As part of this updated policy the commission also voted to reopen county offices as of yesterday. The revenue commission’s Auburn satellite office will not reopen until a later date but the Opelika and Smiths Station offices are now open. Social distancing policies and restrictions are in place.

• approved a budget adjustment for FY2020 – This budget adjustment is needed to disburse nearly $271,000 of FEMA and State of Alabama reimbursements received for the March 3, 2019 tornadoes to various sheriff offices and police departments throughout the state for the assistance that they provided during the disaster. Furthermore, an adjustment of $45,000 is needed to be moved to the general fund for the animal control contract that was approved. The total reallocation from the Capital Projects Fund to the General Fund is $315,850.

• approved an animal control agreement between Lee County, Animal Health Center and the Opelika Animal Hospital in the amount of $45,000

• approved an educational reimbursement request

• approved the purchase of an aerial vehicle drone for the Lee County Sheriff’s department. The low bid was from Vector Solutions Inc. (based in Niceville, Florida) at a cost of $23,283

• took no action on a request from the city of Opelika for a reimbursement of up to 10% (with a cap of $100,000) for costs incurred by the proposed CreekWood quarry. Since no agreement was brought before the commission and voted on prior to the withdrawal of the quarry permits, the commissions requested that County Administrator Roger Rendleman request more information about the total costs before the commission votes on this request.

• approved a title name change for the Lee County EMA’s emergency planner position and be renamed emergency management specialist. The change is to better reflect the broader aspect of the position’s duties and responsibilities. The pay range will remain at the currently assigned grade.

• approved the hiring of two engineering student interns for the county highway department – According to a memorandum and pursuant to Lee County’s Policies, the highway department would like to hire two civil engineering college students to assist the department with the bridge replacement projects and road resurfacing projects. Their duties will be that of the current engineering technicians role; however, since they will be gaining applicable experience while working with their class schedule, the highway department will offer a lower hourly salary than that of the full-time position. Based on their experience a maximum salary will be offered at $14.00/hour. These students will be utilized for less than 11 months and they will not work more than 29 hours per week. This program allows Lee County to get valuable work performed, while these students gain valuable experience in their field of study which prepared them for their future.

• heard a COVID-19 update from Commission Chairman and Probate Judge Bill EnglishThe next Lee County Commission meeting will be held on May 25 at 5 p.m.