County Commission swears in new commissioners, approves capital equipment project requests

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By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

The Lee County Commission swore in its newest member during a special-called Thursday meeting.

Doug Cannon and Gary Long were both elected during the Nov. 3 election. This will be Cannon’s first term on the Lee County Commission, serving District 1.

Long has been serving Ward 3 since 2008, when he was first elected.

FY2021 Budget Capital Equipment and Projects Requests

The commission approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Capital Equipment and Projects Requests Thursday night.

County Administrator Roger Rendleman said that each year, the country tries to budget under what it will actually need so that there is excess rather than debt. Additionally, he charges each department with saving money and budgeting under what they will need.

The general fund has $2 million that can be allocated, while the requests totaled over $2.3 million.

Requests that were approved from the general fund:

  • $50,000 for storm shelter verification fees
  • $20,000 for single audit fees for fiscal year 2019
  • $30,000 for animal control shelter software

Requests that were modified:

  • $95,000 for the Information Services Department. The department was denied $40,000 to replace storage at EMA.
  • $78,000 for Building Maintenance to replace old vehicles. The request was originally $100,000.
  • $4,500 for the Coroner’s Office for armored vests. The office was denied $5,100 for a service weapon and drone.
  • $600,000 for the Sheriff’s Office. The request was originally $880,687.13.
  • $95,000 for the Emergency Management Agency for two vehicles. The agency was denied $14,785 for new chairs. $850,000 was transferred from the capital projects fund for the EMA expansion.
  • Requests from the School Resource Officer ($227,240) and Environmental Services ($340,000) were approved from other funds in the budget.

There were two carryover purchases from Fiscal Year 2020, including:

  • $296,000 to the Highway Department
  • $165,000 to Environmental Services.

“There was a rhyme or reason to this,” Rendleman said. “For instance, EMA asked for vehicles. Now, that fleet is old and they do need vehicles. They also asked for a bunch of chairs. But we’re really working towards doing a renovation in their building and there’s no reason to buy a bunch of new furniture that they’re going to bang up when you move it around so they understand they can hold off on the chair purchases.”

The sheriff’s office too was denied part of its request, but Rendleman explained that he tried to accommodate the departments as best he could.

Other Business:

  • The commission established a regular meeting schedule.
  • The commission approved a request by the Highway Department to assist Beulah School in hauling dirt to the baseball and softball fields.
  • The commission adopted a resolution to resurface Lee Road 379.
  • The commission accepted the Lee County Sports Complex Agreements.
  • The commission awarded a bid for landscaping maintenance for the Beulah Sports Complex to Turfwell Athletic Fields.
  • The commission accepted an Alabama Power Easement for Beauregard Park.

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