By Michelle Key
Lee County Engineer Justin Hardee delivered a presentation pertaining to the effects of the recent heavy rains on the county roadways during Monday night’s commission meeting. According to Hardee, the county has received nearly 34 inches of rain since Dec. 1 of last year. That is more than 13 inches over the average rainfall during the same time period.
Furthermore, since Dec. 1, there have only been 19 days where the weather permitted blading of dirt roads within the county. Hardee stated that 65 miles out of the 177 miles of dirt roads maintained by the county have been addressed. Due to how the rains have been spread out every few days, even on non-rainy days, the roads have still been too wet for work to be done on them.
The rain is also having a negative effect on the paved roads throughout the county according to Hardee.
Hardee stated that they had added an additional person operating a motorgrader to the normal crew in an effort to “catch up” giving the shortness of days that they’ve had to work this winter. They are forming a joint program with neighboring counties that have different pieces of equipment, so that combined they can put together a group of equipment that can better help all involved deal with these issues.
In other business the commission,
• voted to ratify and approve claims and procurement card transactions from February
• approved a request to reschedule the public hearing for the right-of-way vacation on Lee Road 179 until April 27
• heard comments from Peter Byrd regarding the subdivision
• held the first reading of two vacancies on Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission
• approved two educational reimbursements requested by Sheriff Jay Jones
• approved a bid for in-car video systems for vehicles and a bid for the equipment and installation for the sheriff’s department
• approved the transfer of funds from the general funds account into the capital projects fund in order to start the renovation of the EMA Operations Center project
• approved agreements for the concession stands and restroom facility design at Beulah and Beauregard Parks
• approved a request from Hardee to reduce the speed limit on Lee Road 247 from 45 miles per hour to 25.
Near the end of the meeting, EMA Director Rita Smith delivered an agency progress report to the commissioners.
Smith stated that one of her first priorities since being named director two weeks ago, was to establish a Strategic Planning Committee to develop a three-year strategic plan for the agency. The committee is composed of nine people including Smith. She anticipated that a draft of the plan should be available for the commission to review within approximately 90 days.
Smith said that during the last two weeks, she has met with numerous elected officials, fire chiefs, police chiefs and heads of various agencies and departments throughout the county in order to get an idea of what these individuals would like to see EMA do.
According to Smith, 119 applications for individual storm shelters or safe rooms were submitted. All of the eligible applications have now been reviewed by the state’s emergency management agency and have been forwarded to FEMA.
Smith also announced that she would be advertising for two emergency management specialist positions start April 1.
The next commission meeting will be held on March 30 at 5 p.m.