By Fred Woods
Local businessman Jimmy Wright appeared before the Lee County Commission last Monday night asking for county participation in a multi-faceted effort to improve the health and well-being of underserved Lee County citizens. Specifically, Wright, founder and president of the Opelika Community Development Corporation, asked the commission to donate the former Lee County Board of Education buildings located at 102 S. Railroad Ave. for use as a full spectrum clinic. (For a comprehensive discussion of the health care proposal, see page A1.) Commissioner Robert Ham asked County Attorney Stan Martin to investigate the process required to make this happen.
County citizen Peter Byrd discussed in detail the convoluted situation involving improving safety of the railroad crossing near the entrance to Smiths Station High School and the closing of two other crossings on the Opelika-Smiths Station corridor. The process, which began in May, 2011, and is still not complete, has involved a series of bureaucratic mix-ups, blunders and snafus too lengthy to relate here. It is, however, nearing completion.
The commission announced three recreation board openings: additional nominations may be submitted over the next 30 days. Appointments were also made to the Lee County Health Care Authority Board (Dr. Steve Lock (new), Wayne Alderman (2nd term) and Lucinda Cannon (served since 1992) and Lee County Communications Board ( Robert “Bob” Holley (new) and Mary Henry (served several terms).
County Administrator Roger Rendleman reported that Lee County had received its tenth consecutive “clean” audit from the State Examiners of Public Accounts. (See article on page A7 for details). While Rendleman credited the whole staff for a team effort, he pointed out that Assistant Administrator Alice Fitzgerald was the only staffer working for the entire period covered by these audits.
Rendleman also asked a rather unusual allocation of $140,990 for capital renovations at the Agriculture Extension Building on South 7th Street in Opelika. The renovations are necessary to agreement on a long term lease to a portion of the property by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
After a brief executive session Commission Chairman Bill English announced settlement of a law suit against the commission brought by Darryl and Wendy Cannon who had been denied a liquor license previously for their proposed restaurant/dance hall, the Iron Horse Saloon, on Alabama Hwy. 51 at Whatley crossroads in Beauregard. As a result of the settlement, the Cannons get their liquor license in exchange for a modest limitation on open hours and assurances of no illegal activity related to consumption of alcohol.
In other action commissioners
– approved a resolution for the resurfacing of approximately 3.26 miles of Lee Road 11 from LR 39 to Al Hwy. 51,
– heard Mrs. Eddream Lawrence request completion of the paving of Lee Road 40, which, she says, was begun about 10 years ago and never completed. Mr. Hardee promised to research Mrs. Lawrence’s claim and report back to the commission,
– held a public hearing and approved, at Chief Building Official Joel Hubbard’s request, a resolution updating County Building and Administrative Codes and
– renewing the solid waste disposal contract between the county and Advanced Disposal Services for three years with no changes (the extended contract runs through February 29, 2020.)