County seeks AG opinion on property transfer

Photo by Robert Noles

By Fred Woods

On the advice of the county attorney, the Lee County Commission is seeking an Attorney General’s opinion before transferring the County Board of Education property in downtown Opelika to the Opelika Community Development Corporation for use as a medical clinic for underserved citizens. Attorney Stan Martin said he could find no precedent for a county to transfer property to an organization such as OCDC at less than fair market value. Commissioner Robert Ham expressed his hope that the time required for the AG opinion would not unduly delay the medical clinic proposal.
At the request of county Environmental Services Director Chris Bozeman, the commission approved a no-cost three year lease for a waste cardboard baler from the city of Opelika.
The commission also heard from Mr. Willie Philpot, operator of a trash pick-up business in the county. Philpot, who picks up trash from elderly, disabled and other county residents who cannot or prefer not to take their trash to one of the county’s disposal sites, says that he is being accused (but not cited) of illegal dumping.  Philpot further said that he believes he is in compliance with all county regulations and asked the commission to investigate and tell him what, if anything, he is doing wrong.
Commission Chair Bill English told Philpot that dumping enforcement was the responsibility of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and invited Sheriff Jay Jones, who was present at the meeting, to comment. Jones‘ response was: “I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.” What investigation, Sheriff?
Mr. Philpot says he has had no complaints from any of his clients, or, as far as he is aware, from anyone else. He believes he is being harassed by county authorities. Mr. Philpot further states he had no problems whatsoever until the past several months when he has attempted to expand his business into other areas of the county. He says, in addition to the harassment, his business signs in the new service areas repeatedly disappear.
In other actions, the commission
-received an appendage to Mrs. Eddream Lawrence’s petition presented at the previous commission meeting regarding improvements to Lee Road 140 containing an additional 72 signatures,
-approved an educational reimbursement for Rita Smith of the county Emergency Management Agency and
-voted to allow the use of $1,200 of contingency funds to support the annual Employee Health and Benefits Fair.


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