BY HANNAH LESTER
The county heard an update on the new curbside transition plan during the Lee County Commission Monday night which will go into effect in March 1.
Community members have continued to ask how the plan will work and what updates there are concerning private companies being allowed to haul trash.
The Lee County Commission voted in June for a new curbside solid waste plan that will involve contracting with an outside agency, Arrow Disposal, to pick up trash.
Citizens will be offered a 95-gallon trash can that will be picked up once a week. The county will also keep a few of the drop-off sites open two days a month.
The drop-off sites will be available on one weekday and one Saturday a month. They will be fenced off at other times and inaccessible to the public.
Bulk pickup would be handled with an on-demand system, said Environmental Services Director John McDonald at the commission meeting on June 14. Citizens would call the county and request a pickup and pay a fee in advance.
The cost for the first couple of years will remain the same as what residents currently pay — $222 a year.
“We anticipate there are going to be some things that we’re going to have to work through and we ask for the citizens’ patience in doing so,” said County Engineer Justin Hardee. “We do feel this will be a system that will serve Lee County well.”
However, since the approval of this plan, private companies that have served the county for years have asked to continue their business.
“My understanding is the county is not telling private vendors they cannot provide the service to citizens if the citizens wish to continue to use them,” Hardee said. “They can still use them if they wish to but they will be also participating in the county system.”
Willie Philpot, one of these business owners, of ViroTek Services, encouraged residents who were unhappy with the new plan to attend Monday night’s meeting.
“In October of 2021 you all requested information from us that had a deadline on Oct. 15, 2021,” Philpot said Monday night. “We met that particular deadline and my office submitted a list of current customers, and contract with the disposal facility that we dump the trash at, all service contracts with all of my current customers to Mr. John McDonald, the Lee County Environmental Director.
“Since submitting requested information, we have been patiently waiting since then for a formal response and we have been ignored time and time again by this current commission board.”
Philpot said that the commission and Revenue Commissioners’ Office has told his customers that ViroTek Services is not an approved vendor.
Philpot said he has owned his business for eight years and desires to keep his customers.
While speaking, Philpot’s allotted three minutes ran out and he was asked to stop speaking.
However, he turned to address the audience in attendance.
“Eight years I obtained my health department permit and they are taking all the wages from me and my family,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for eight years. Eight years. They haven’t even responded to me or my attorney with no kind of response. Now everybody in here can go home to their family without having no worry in the world, but my family has to start over.”
A second citizen spoke during the meeting, Judy Lockhart, and asked the commission if the dumpsters will remain open during Auburn University’s The Big Event.
“Dumpsters on Highway 61 are normally where we take our debris when they come out and do the three or four hours of service,” she said. “And I’m wondering, the fourth Saturday in March, which is March 26, will the dumpsters still be there and are the students allowed, if we are with them, to take our debris and dump it there.”
Hardee said he would talk with Lockhart about finding a solution for The Big Event.
The county presented a proclamation to former County Administrator Roger Rendleman for his years of service to the county.
Rendleman retired on Dec. 31 after working for the county for over 20 years.
“During his tenure the county experienced unprecedented growth and his guidance and leadership successfully ushered the county through great challenges and triumphs and things like the Great Recession of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Probate Judge Bill English while presenting a proclamation to Rendleman.
English listed some of the accomplishments of Rendleman’s during his tenure, including the Justice Center renovation, new completion of a new justice building, the Bennie Adkins Meeting Center, the Revenue Commissioners’ annex, Beulah Senior Center and much more.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Lee County Commission expresses its sincere appreciation, gratitude and thanks to Roger H. Rendleman for his numerous contributions to Lee County and the state,” English said. “He will be missed both professionally and personally and the commission extends its very best wishes for continued success in life and with his future endeavors.”
Rendleman said he learned how to focus on what was important for the county.
“Having great people to work with here in Lee County too, this is a great community, I’ve loved every minute of it,” he said. “I just feel very, as much as I’ve done for Lee County, Lee County also gave a lot to me and my family.”
The commission later on in the meeting approved a resolution to rehire Rendleman as a ‘retiree in service’ to “provide advisory and technical support as needed.”
Current County Administrator Holly Leverette said she asked Rendleman to come back.
“It’s more to provide her with background and knowledge and stuff that, first of all even if we had a month’s time together, it would take longer, especially when you’re talking twenty years of doing this,” Rendleman said.
So he said he will be able to provide Leverette with background information, help her come up with solutions and learn to find solutions and provide insight into situations.
– The commission approved a resolution for revenue replacement from the American Rescue Plan Act funding.
– The commission approved the final plat approval for Phase II of Hawks Landing Subdivision.
– The commission approved a bid for Panasonic Toughbooks for patrol units for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
– The commission approved an ABC application for retail beer and retail table wine for Annillos Pizzeria.
– The commission approved an ABC application for a restaurant retail liquor license for Poco Locos Mexican Grill.