By Michelle Key
In last week’s Lee County Commission meeting, the commission voted to move the site of the polling place located at Beauregard High School to Providence Baptist Church’s fellowship hall because of the school’s ongoing construction.
Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. James E. McCoy emailed the commission requesting a move from Beauregard High School and Wacoochee Elemenatry School citing safety issues. While most in attendance were in agreement with the move from BHS to Providence Baptist Church due to the construction of the new high school, there was some contention regarding the move from WES so close to the general election. Lee County Probate Judge Bill English spoke regarding the election laws pertaining to polling places. “Generally, the law says that you can’t move one (polling location) within 90 days of election, but there is a provision for an emergency move when a location becomes unavailable which fits this criteria,” English said.
Brian McGee, Democratic nominee for Alabama House District 38, spoke to the council on his concerns that a move of polling place so close to the general election could disenfranchise voters and affect the outcome of the election.
“When you confuse people by switching (the location) within 20 some odd days of the general election, it is inappropriate,” McGee said. “The law is very clear about it. It is an attempt to restrict people’s right to vote.”
Commissioner John Andrew Harris noted that he too was opposed to changing the location of the polling place at WES.
McGee expressed his concerns regarding the location at Wacoochee did not meet any criteria as an emergency and that to move it inside of the 90 days allowed by law would be in violation of law. Christopher Davis, Democratic nominee for Alabama House District 80, also questioned whether or not this move was “an emergency.”
Commissioner Johnny Lawrence made a motion to separate the two requests and to vote on moving the polling place at Beauregard. This motion was seconded and was approved. No action was taken on the request to move the polling place at Wacoochee.
In order to make sure residents are aware of the change of precinct at Beauregard, postcards will be mailed out to registered voters in the affected precincts as well as making sure there are signs at old and new locations.
In a continuation of the discussion on Lee Road 79, the commission received a report from Lee County resident Mr. Webb. Webb stated that Weyerhaeuser had contacted him and had offered a key to the gate that has been placed across Lee Road 79, blocking Webb and other landowners from accessing their property from that particular direction. He will follow-up with Weyerhaeuser and will report back to the commission.
In other business:
– Sheriff Jay Jones recognized Deputy Tommy Threat as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year. “He has demonstrated leadership as by being selected as a department instructor in defensive tactics, alert active shooter and our yellow dot program. He has basically qualities that you would expect to see in someone that leads by example,” Jones said.
“I am just honored and humbled that Sheriff Jones gave me the opportunity to work in this organization. I love it,” Threat said. “I just enjoy it. Thank you for this honor.”
– Justin Hardee announced the recovery of a stolen motor grader, which was reported stolen in October 2014
– Kathy Carson recognized Capt. Bobby Kilgore for his outstanding work as the PIO Task Force Chair
– Carson announced the NOAA Radio Program and Workshop Four/Advanced Preparedness Series that was held Oct. 15
– Ratified and approved claims and procurement card transactions from September 2018
– Announced a vacancy on the Horseshoe Bend Regional Library
– Approved Ernest L. Griggs, Sr of Loachapoka to fill the vacancy on Lee County Recreation Board (D5)
– Approved Andrew Bryan to fill the vacancy on Beulah Utilities Board
– Heard from John McDonald regarding adding animals picked up by the Lee County Animal Control personnel to the Opelika-Auburn Lost and Found Pets Facebook Page
– Read a letter from Mrs. Reiko Daniel of Lee Road 279 regarding her concerns over a haunted house, Haunted Hollow, that is located near her home. Mrs. Reiko was not in attendance and no action was taken
– Approved the federal aid project resolution for the resurfacing of Lee Road 188 from Alabama Highway 14 to Saughahatchee Creek, which is approximately 2.7 miles in length. This project will be funded with 80 percent coming from the federal aid program and a 20 percent match from Lee County
– Approved FY2018-2019 maintenance bids to Twin Oaks Environmental for Bid #04 for bales of grass hay, to Ergon Asphalt & Emulsion, Inc. for Bid #05 for emulsified asphalt and to East Alabama Paving Co., Inc., for bid #07 for bituminous treatment
– Approved the ADEM Scrap Tire Fund Agreement as presented by John McDonald
Approved to amend the agreement with HDR Architecture.
Lee County Commission meetings are held on the second and last Mondays of each month at 5 p.m.
The meetings take place at the Lee County Courthouse, which is located at 215 S. 9th Street in Opelika.