Smiths Station Presents Annual Law Enforcement Award, Passes Annual Budget in September Meeting

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From L-R: Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland and Deputy Sheriff Tyron Ponds. Ponds is the recipient of this year's James W. Anderson Award. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED OT THE OBSERVER

BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH

KENDYLH@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

SMITHS STATION —

It’s been 13 years since Deputy Sheriff James W. Anderson was killed during a traffic stop in the Smiths Station area, and on Sept. 27 Deputy Sheriff Tyron Ponds received the annual award established in Anderson’s honor.

Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland, along with Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, presented the award at the Smiths Station City Council meeting.

“There are many things I get to do as the mayor of Smiths Station … but this, by far, is the greatest,” Copeland said. “… For … the officers of the sheriff’s department of Lee County, to receive this award is not something that is taken lightly. It is to be honored.”

According to Jones, the award is given to a deputy sheriff each year who goes above and beyond the call of duty and displays the kinds of characteristics that Anderson had.

“He was selfless,” Jones recalled. “He was a person who put service above self, was very unassuming and just the type of person that would do anything he could for others instead of himself. Those characteristics are what this award’s all about, and Tyron certainly demonstrates those characteristics in his everyday actions and everything that he does.”

Ponds was shot in the line of duty on Oct. 20, 2021, and has undergone several surgeries as a result, Jones said.

After receiving the award, Ponds expressed his gratitude to God, his family and his team for their support.

“It’s truly an honor to be a recipient of this award,” he said. “… Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your team.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS, THE COUNCIL APPROVED THE FOLLOWING:

• A special use permit for Verizon Wireless to modify the existing wireless telecommunications facility located at 8584 Mullin Road;

• A special use permit for Verizon Wireless to modify the existing wireless telecommunications facility located at 950 Summerville Road;

• The sale of 46.53 acres, which the city purchased in 2008 for about $337,500, back to the original owner for about $359,000;

• Reimbursement to Parks and Recreation Director Jason Stewart for use of a cell phone provided by the city, for $37.50 per month;

• Halloween to be observed on Monday, Oct. 31.

“We have tried, we have begged … we’ve done everything we can to have a school built there, but … the person that put the right of way would not change that,” Copeland said of the 46.53 acres being sold, but added he doesn’t know what the owner plans to do with the land.

With the new fiscal year beginning, Smiths Station is finishing the previous year in the black.

The city’s net income for fiscal year 2021-2022 is nearly $713,000, City Clerk Morgan Bryce noted at the Sept. 27 meeting.

“We’re in a much better position than at least a dozen other cities in Alabama,” he said.

The city was in the red for the month of August 2022 at about negative $110,300, but Copeland said that’s because the city had to pay the state for work done on Lee Road 296, but the city will be reimbursed. That reimbursement will be reflected at a later month.

The total general fund budget for fiscal year 2022-2023, which the council approved at its Sept. 13 meeting, is a little more than $2 million. The total will be used in four categories: public works, park, financial and admin expenses.

In addition, the council approved an environmental budget of $464,600 for the Solid Waste Co. for program year 2022-23.

The council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday each month at 2336 Lee Road 430 in Smiths Station.

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