BY HANNAH LESTER
LEE COUNTY —
The Lee County Commission voted to approve the purchase of new equipment for the Lee County Coroner’s Office.
“If you back up a number of years, there was a lot of controversy around the transportation of decedents and exactly some ethical questions about that so former Coroner Harris signed an agreement with VIP transport to do these decedent transportations and they went out of business on Nov. 18,” said Lee County Coroner Daniel Sexton.
Since that time, the coroner’s office has been renting a truck under emergency rules and procedures.
“The bodies, we still have to get them moved and so it’s a public health and emergency issue,” Sexton said.
It’s been almost 90 days since the coroner’s office lost its transport system and Sexton requested of the county purchase of a van for the office.
“Looking at the numbers, off the state bid list and other items, I believe that we can do this for … $58,000 or less,” he said.
The coroner or deputies will drive the van, for now and it will be kept at the Bennie Adkins Meeting Center where the coroner’s office is located.
Flat fees collected from the cities of Auburn, Opelika and Smiths Station for reimbursement of transportation costs will stay the same for now, Sexton said.
“Well, I’m not going to let you borrow my truck, so with that, I make a motion [to approve the purchase],” said District 1 Commissioner Doug Cannon.
Additionally, the coroner’s office needs a storage system, which may cost the county anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 for a cooler that could hold up to 20 bodies, Sexton said. He said that he wanted to start the discussion about the topic.
– The commission heard an annual report from the Lee County Emergency Management Agency.
– The commission heard and voted on the second reading of an opening on the Lee County Recreation Board for Beulah, District 4.
– The commission heard and voted on the second reading of an opening on the Lee County Recreation Board for Smiths Station, District 3.
– The commission approved an educational reimbursement request for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
– The commission approved a bid for equipment installation for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
– The commission approved a bid for crack sealing on various Lee County roads.
– The commission discussed the hiring of a human resources director for Lee County and updated the job description.