By Michelle Key
The Lee County Commission met last Tuesday night and during the meeting the commissioners voted to approve a roadway transfer agreement, with the city of Smiths Station. The agreement, which is similar in structure to agreements with both the cities of Auburn and Opelika, will transfer ownership of county roads that lie within the city limits of Smiths Station. Smiths Station will take over the responsibility of road maintenance for the nearly 50 miles of roadways, which also include one bridge structure, one traffic light and two caution lights. This motion also included approval for County Administrator Roger Rendleman to make the necessary budget adjustments in relationship to this change of roadway ownership.
In other business, the commission:
• approved the minutes of commission meeting May 11, 2020
• voted to ratify and approve claims and procurement card transactions
• announced three vacancies on the East Alabama Health Care Authority Board
• voted to approve reimbursements for 10% of legal fees incurred by the city of Opelika pertaining to the fight against the Creekwood Resources LLC’s rock quarry proposal earlier this year. The amount approved by the commissioners to send to Opelika was $7,424.86
• approved the Final Report of Litigations & Insolvencies completed by County Revenue Commissioner Oline Price
• approved a federal aid agreement for the full-depth reclamation and resurfacing of nearly 2.7 miles of Lee Road 188 in the estimated amount of nearly $900,000. The funds for this project will come from federal aid funds and funds from the Rebuild Alabama Act without any additional matching county funds
• approved a federal aid agreement for the full-depth reclamation and resurfacing of nearly 2.62 miles of Lee Road 243. This project will be funded with Columbus-Phenix City Municipal Planning Organization (MPO) funds at 80% and requires a 20% county match. The estimated cost of this project is $880,000.
• tabled an agreement for subdivision enforcement in Phenix City planning jurisdiction while awaiting more information
• approved six new job classifications to revise personnel policies and positions in an effort to provide more opportunities for advancement and or incentives for employees. The new job descriptions that were approved include:
– Assistant Supervisor – Property Assessment / Revenue Commissioner’s Office
– Building and Grounds Supervisor / Building Maintenance Department
– Assistant Building Official / Building Inspection – Stormwater Management Department
– Administrator / Building Inspection – Stormwater Management Department
– Social Media Administrative Assistant / Building Inspection – Stormwater Management Department
– Office Manager / Reappraisal Department
Also during the meeting, Commission Chairman and Probate Judge Bill English, along with Circuit Clerk Mary Roberson, notified the commission of Roberson’s decision to resign from her position as the Absentee Election Manager due to being named as a defendant along with Gov. Kay Ivey, Sec. of State John Merrill and two other circuit clerks from Alabama in a federal election lawsuit brought by People First of Alabama. The Voting Appointing Board now must name a replacement as the Absentee Election Manager. The next election is scheduled to take place on July 14.
The core election issues addressed in the lawsuit are the requirement of absentee voters to have witnesses to their signatures, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the photo identification requirement and that Alabama does not offer curbside or drive-thru voting. In a Statement of Interest brief filed last Monday, the U.S. Justice Department asserted that the witness requirement is not a violation of Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Justice Department did not address any other of the concerns brought forth in the law suit.
The Lee County Commission meets on the second and last Monday nights of every month and the next scheduled meeting will take place on June 8 at 5 p.m. Meetings are held in the commission chambers located on the second floor of courthouse annex located in downtown Opelika.