By Michelle Key

Lee County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Rita Smith recognized two EMA employees during Monday night’s county commission meeting.

Billy Browdy was recognized for earning his Intermediate Certification and Austin Jones earned the recognition as “Rookie of the Year” by Alabama Association of Emergency Managers (AAEM), and for earning his Basic Certification. Jones was nominated for his award by Smith and other local first responders from Lee County.

“He is far from a rookie,” said Smith. “We are so glad to have him.”

Smith was also recognized by Deputy Director, Chief of Staff for the State of Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Jonathan Gaddy for the completion of her certification as a Level Emergency Manager. Smith was required to complete this certification within two years of her hire date, however, she completed it in only 15 months. This training is recognized by Congress.

During the citizens communications segment of the meeting, four individuals addressed the commission.

First up was Regina Meadows who brought information regarding the CIRCLES program and some of its upcoming events.

Peter Byrd requested additional information on a couple of invoices that are listed for payment approval. He also requested that the commission consider adding back more chairs to the commission chambers to accommodate those wishing to attend the meetings.

John Sophocleus addressed the commission, encouraging them to address the illegal dumping at the county’s dumpsters. He then asked for the commission to vacate their decision at the special called meeting on June 21 regarding the decision on trash collection.

Earnest Griggs spoke for the Lee County Recreation Board regarding the leasing of land in Loachapoka for a recreational facility.

Other Business:

– Neil Cyriac and Wendy Swann gave a presentation on different options the county has for the use of the $32 million dollars that the county received from federal COVID-19 funding.

– The commission approved the minutes of the June 14 commission meeting.

– The commission approved to ratify and approve claims and procurement and transactions.

– The commission approved the request from Ridge Grove Farms Subdivision to grant final plat approval.

– The commission held a second reading for a vacancy on the East Alabama Health Care Authority Board and voted to approve Stanley Tucker to fill this position.

– Loachapoka High School Principal Albert Weeden provided an update on the youth and recreation leagues in Loachapoka. The league will be providing both tackle and flag football, cheerleading and tumbling, basketball, softball, baseball and t-ball. Weeden also presented the budget for the youth sports. Weeden was informed that the Lee County Recreation Board has funds already allocated for recreational expenses and he was encouraged to submit his budget proposal to the board.

– The Alabama legislature recently passed new laws creating seven new license types to be issued by the Alabama ABC Board. The commission moved this item to the following meeting.

– Erica Baker-Norris made a request for reimbursement for educational expenses for an employee. The commission voted to approve this request.

– Lee County Administrator Roger Rendleman requested an amendment of the Gasoline Tax Fund 2021 Budget in the amount of $232,000 for the recognition of the excess proceeds from the sale of 10 dump trucks and the allocation of the same amount for additional equipment needs of the Highway Department. The commission voted to approve this request.

– John McDonald, from the Environmental Services Department, requested the commission to grant the chairman approval to sign an extension of the county’s animal control agreement with Animal Health Center and Opelika Animal Hospital for an additional year. The extension would take effect on Oct. 1, 2021, and end Sept. 30, 2022.

Commission meetings are held on the 2nd and last Monday nights of every month. The next meeting will be on July 12, 2021. Meetings are live-streamed and recorded and can be found on the county’s website,