Commission Discusses ARP Money; Noise Ordinance

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BY HANNAH LESTER
HLESTER@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

The Lee County Commission discussed the qualifications, and the questions, that will need to be answered, of groups seeking money from the commission from the American Rescue Plan on Monday night during the commission meeting.

Lee County was allocated $32 million from the federal government, and the commission has been discussing the best ways to allocate this money so that the effects are seen long-term.

Different groups have approached the commission, asking what they will need to do to receive money.

Up until last night, the commission informed groups that the commission was working on that process and questions would eventually be provided that everyone seeking money would need to answer.

District 2 Commissioner Brown provided that list to the other commissioners Monday night.

– How long has your agency been in existence and operation?

– Who is your primary decision maker? Your Chief Executive?

– Is there a board of directors?

– What was your organization’s overall budget for each of the last two or three years?

– Please give a generalized breakdown of your expenses: i.e. salaries, operational costs, etc. for each of the last two or three years.

– What is the primary ongoing source of your funding?

– What other governmental agencies contribute to your operations?

– How many Lee County residents does your agency serve on an ongoing basis?

– How you will continue this proposed program after this one-time appropriation?

District 1 Commissioner Doug Cannon said he would like to see the agencies explain how they will use the money to provide long-term change in Lee County. District 4 Commissioner Robert Ham recommended rewording the last question to include that.

“We’re making this obvious that there’s no guarantee because they fill out an application and it may be a multi-step process,” Brown said.

NOISE ORDINANCE:

Two citizens approached the commission Monday night asking about the possibility of a noise ordinance for the county.

One citizen, Carl Gagliano, spoke during citizens communications and informed the commission that he lives nearby a piece of property that keeps over 20 dogs.

“Over the two holidays, the Fourth of July and the Labor Day weekend, we could not sit outside,” he said. “We tried to barbecue and sit under our car port, and when you get 20 dogs singing at the same time, and they start at 6 o’clock in the morning, there’s no peace. I’ve spoken to the owner, he’s tried to do some things and what have you, but it’s not resolved. This county needs an ordinance.”

Gagliano said that most counties the size of Lee County have some sort of noise ordinance in place.

Marie Maples asked to be placed on the agenda to discuss the same issue.

She informed the commission that there are still noise problems coming from Margaret Brown’s property.

The commission was informed of problems at Brown’s property in April — former noise complaints include recorded, non-EMA tornado and air raid sirens, the sounds of coyote mating calls, animal noises, church bells and more.

In May, Brown was arrested on warrants from the noise complaints.

Probate Judge Bill English shared Monday night that there is a case in the system regarding the noise complaints.

“The local judges have recused themselves from it, and the state will have to assign an out-of-county judge to come in and do the case,” he said. “So that’s now in the hands of the state court system and I’ll be honest, I don’t know where they are with that today. I had heard that they were having some difficulty getting an out-of-town judge to come hear the case.”

OTHER BUSINESS:

– The commission heard an update on the Lee Road 321 paving situation.

– The commission voted to form an exclusive contract with Arrow Disposal now that the county has transition to curbside pickup.

– The commission heard a report from the Plainview Volunteer Fire Department who is need of members for the board of directors and volunteers. A letter will be sent to houses in Lee County that fall under the district asking for volunteers.

– The commission voted to approve a special retail license application for Choctafaula LLC.

– The commission voted to approve a special events retail license for Trinity Hospitality Group, LLC.

– The commission voted to approve a retail beer and retail table wine license for Backwaters Restaurant and Convenience Store.

– The commission voted to approve the SIDP Safety Incentive Discount Verification.

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