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Lee Town Council holds May meeting

It was a short agenda for the Lee Town Council members during their Tuesday, May 3 meeting.

Beginning their meeting, the minutes from the April 5 meeting were adopted and with no public comment, no old business and no new business, the council went straight to department reports.

Town Manager John Anderson notified the council that the Lee Economic Development Council had been officially dissolved.

Next, Anderson informed council members about the success of the Touch A Truck event that had been held on Saturday, April 9 by the Lee Elementary PTO.

“I think it went over [well],” said Anderson. “[The goal] was to bring the community out and get kids involved and I think a lot of [the kids] had a real good time.”

Fire Chief and Council member Dianne Beck added that the event was a success, but if it takes place again, there may need to be a consideration of the timing of the event, as this year’s Touch A Truck event fell on the day that Flea Across Florida was taking place and there could have been a conflict of interest.

Anderson updated council members on the park grants for Lee and the requirements and boundary survey that are needed for the grants; on matters regarding to chlorine at one of the sites that the town of Lee facilitates; the eventual need to purchase a new lawnmower; Madison Correctional Institution prisoners working in Lee and the purchase of ads in the North Florida Community College magazine, ‘Connections.’  The council decided not to purchase ads in the college’s magazine for budget reasons.

Next up, Anderson presented the possible sale of the double-oven gas range that the town owns.  The stove was currently housed in the old Lee school building.  The town had purchased the stove in 2012 and Anderson believed it worked fine.

“At this point, I don’t really know what use we have with it just sitting over there,” said Anderson.

A woman had, prior to the meeting, approached Anderson to inquire about purchasing the stove from the town and Anderson wondered what courses the town would have to take in order to sell it.

Rather than outright sell the stove to her, Anderson realized he would have to advertise the sale of the stove and bid or auction it out.

Concerns were voiced about whether the sale of the stove would make the kitchen area of the center inoperable.

Council members discussed the sale of the stove and Ronnie Bass made a motion not to sell the stove at that time.  Dianne Beck seconded the motion and the council voted unanimously to keep the stove.

Next on the town manager’s notes was the report of an unnamed citizen coming to Anderson to request sewage service at the individual’s home.

The citizen was past the 300 ft. distance limit that the town had set and to hook the individual up could likely cost an extra $5,000, at least.

While it was out of the ordinary to hook someone up to town utilities that was out of range, Anderson questioned whether, for this instance and future ones, there were options that the town and the inquiring citizens could look into to solve the problem.

“I think, in the past, we’ve done it in a case-by-case basis,” said Mayor Eddie Bell. “If they come to us, we [will] try to work with them.”

Also discussed was the hot topic tractor-trailer parking and the council decided it was still a bit premature to put anything on the agenda regarding that. They did agree that the town of Lee does not have road structures that could support the overnight weight of large industrial trucks.

“We don’t need [our county's] roads torn up anymore [than they already are],” said Anderson.

Following the paying of bills, council member comments were opened and Beck brought up that there needs to be stricter rules regarding signs and banners that are displayed during events, or rather, how soon the signs are removed.   Anderson agreed to make sure that a deadline for sign removal was stressed when events were registered with the town.

“When signs are put up, [event hosts] need to understand that there is a very short time before they need to be [taken] down,” said Beck.

Council member Ronnie Bass voiced concerns about the recent influx of mosquitoes. Bass commented that various citizens had asked about mosquito spraying within Lee, as the mosquito population has gotten so large.

Madison County has a pest and mosquito control department, however due to downsizing and budget restrictions, the department cannot spray every area of the county very frequently.  Zones where there is a higher population of people are the spraying priority, followed by zones where mosquito swarms have reached extreme levels.

Mayor Bell assured Bass that Madison County mosquito control’s director, Jamie Willoughby has been monitoring levels quite closely due to the threat of the Zika virus, but Anderson was asked to touch base with Willoughby to make sure that the Lee area is being sprayed.

With no further matters to discuss, the council adjourned their meeting until Tuesday, June 7.

The public is invited to all monthly meetings held by the council and the podium is open to public comments, concerns and opinions.

The Lee Town Council meeting is held in the Town Hall, located at 286 NE CR 255 at 7 p.m.

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