By Michelle Key
The Lee County Commission voted Monday night to approve a resolution declaring a local state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Joining 45 other counties in Alabama, Lee county buildings and facilities will be closed with staff present to conduct business via online and mail services.
“We are not closed for business,” Revenue Commissioner Oline Price stressed to those present. “There is plenty [of work] for the staff to do. We have already seen a marked increase in online transactions.”
The resolution states that “Lee County buildings, facilities and services, will no longer be open to the public as of March 31 at the end of business day. Remaining staff will continue to report to work under the existing policies to maintain what functions can be conducted through the mail, by telephone,or online, however that situation may be subject to further closure upon the determination of the chairman or the county administrator, should the need arise.”
County Administrator Roger Rendleman, City Engineer Justin Hardee and Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director Rita Smith all three made recommendations for the closing of county offices to public foot traffic.
“I think you should take it very serious and seriously consider closing [to the public], [allowing] staff that can work to work,” Smith said. “Let’s do what is best for everybody.”
In other business, the commission:
• voted to approved the minutes of commission meeting March 9 and the emergency meeting held on March 17
• voted to ratify and approve claims
• voted to approve Tiffany Hilyer and Carmilla Tindall for the open positions on the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission board
• approved a retail beer/wine license application for Dollar General Store #20427
• approved the transfer of retail beer and wine license application for Express Food Mart
• approved an application from Creek Nation Neighborhood to participate in the Adopt-A-Mile program along a portion of Lee Road 54 from Lee Road 146 to the bridge over Chewacla Creek
• voted to approved temporary COVID-19 personnel policies making changes in addressing childcare needs and giving more guidance on when someone impacted may return to work
• voted to approve the revenue administration agent to grant penalty relief for sales, use, rental and lodging tax payments. This relief will be in-line with relief being offered by the cities of Auburn and Opelika
• approved a request to enroll the county in the Association of County Commissions of Alabama Self-Insurance Property Property program
• voted to approved the Change Order #1 in the amount of $39,997 for the Beulah Sports Park
• approved the chairman to review options for the possibility of teleconferencing the next scheduled commission meeting if needed.
Lee County Commission meetings are held on the second and last Monday nights of every month at 5 p.m. Meetings are conducted in the Commission Chamber in the Lee County Courthouse Annex which is located on the 2nd floor. The address of the courthouse is 215 S. 9th St. in Opelika. Commission meetings are live-streamed and recorded. Meetings can be watched at the county’s website www.leeco.us/government/county_commission/agenda.php.
The next scheduled meeting is planned for April 14.