Lee County residents are very much in debt to state Rep. George Bandy of Opelika for killing a bill that would have needlessly cost county taxpayers an estimated $100,000 a year.

State Sen. Billy Beasley of Clayton, a member of the Lee County delegation, voted against the local bill that would have created a new legislative delegation office in the county.

This bill, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Whatley of Auburn, and co-sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville, also a member of the Lee County delegation, would have given Senator Whatley – alone – the authority to hire the person to staff it, with an annual salary of about $63,000.

With salary, employee benefits, office space and supplies, it would have cost county taxpayers roughly $100,000 annually.

Lee County Commissioner Sheila Eckman drafted a resolution opposing the bill. The Commission adopted it, noting that it was flawed with inequities, placed an unfunded mandated on the county’s budget and was unfair to the rest of the county’s legislative delegation.

But the bill passed the Alabama Senate, due to the local bill courtesy rule, and was sent to the Lee County Local Legislation Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives chaired by Rep. Bandy.

Despite tremendous pressure applied to him, Rep. Bandy stood tall for Lee County taxpayers and wouldn’t allow the bill to be passed in the House.

This was a bad bill from its inception. The Lee County Commission recognized that, as did Rep. Bandy, Sen. Beasley and the editorial board of the Opelika-Auburn News.

Ted Little

Former state senator

Auburn

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