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Billy Mathis

LEESBURG – Members of the Lee County Commission kicked off 2021 by selecting Billy Mathis as chairman for the coming year and John Wheaton as vice chairman during the board’s meeting Tuesday.

Mike Talley, a stormwater engineer, presented a report to the commission that dominated the first meeting of that body in 2021.

In his report, Talley explained the differences between the two major flood threats facing the residents of Lee County and the opportunity to use GIS mapping to potentially minimize future damages.

With two creeks and one of the nation’s most unrestricted river systems, riverine flooding is an acknowledged concern. However, a secondary concern comes from no-outlet lows, which are primarily created by the large number of sinkholes and lime sink depressions in the area.

“What I’m trying to find out is is there a way to do two things,” Talley said. “We want to make sure the citizens of Lee County are protected from buying property that they should not, or at least have the information to manage their risk to determine that decision. And second, is there something we should do to better establish what is a reasonable flood elevation is for a location in a subdivision?”

Talley went on to explain how current technology allows a better determination of a site’s risk level. He explained that the county now has the ability to go beyond the data available on the current FEMA maps and better access the risk of flooding on these non-riverine sites. The commission agreed that it was in the county’s best interest to have Talley conduct further study as to how these areas might be identified and the associated risks of future development.

A public hearing was held during the meeting regarding a request by Griffith Farms to rezone 101 acres from R-1 (single-family residence) to AG (agricultural district). A family representative explained that all family members now had homestead sites and this initial land was no longer needed for that purpose. No other comments were made during this initial hearing.

Johnny Barthlien, Ed Duffy, Troy Golden and George Walls were re-appointed to the Lee County Utilities Authority for one-year terms running through Jan. 31, 2022. Marion Whitlock was appointed to a two-year term on the Housing Task Force of Southwest Georgia. Chad Arnold and Darrell Finnicum were appointed to the Planning Commission, filling two vacancies that expire Jan. 31, 2025.

Considerations to approve bids related to the purchase of a firetruck, uniforms and turn-out gear for fire and EMS uniforms, as well as an audit agreement for phone services, were approved. Resolutions to certify abandonment for a portion of Grey Moss Rd, Jones Lane, and Wingate Lane were adopted.

Consideration to ratify the third amendment to the Lee County Hospital Memorandum of Understanding, extending it until Dec. 31, 2022, carried.

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