Lee County to cover cost of special inspection for FEMA storm shelters

Lee County to cover cost of special inspection for FEMA storm shelters
Lee County to cover cost of special inspection for FEMA storm shelters (Source: WTVM)

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - As Lee County residents are bracing for Hurricane Sally, the Lee County Commission voted on an issue Tuesday that should bring storm shelters to tornado survivors more quickly.

This comes after county leaders said there was a delay because of an inspection requirement they were recently informed of through a letter from the Alabama Board of Architects and Engineers.

“There has to be a special inspection behind the installers,” said Rita Smith, the director of the Lee County Emergency Management Agency. “[The shelter] has to be certified off twice, which is expensive.”

With each inspection set to cost about $400 dollars, the Lee County Commission voted Tuesday night to pay for these inspections for the FEMA grant shelters, instead of making residents foot the bill.

“This was important to us to get it done, and not put the burden of this inspection, that we just recently found about, on the citizens,” Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham said.

“These people went through the tornadoes in Beauregard and Smiths Station. They deserve their shelter,” Smith said.

One area resident said this will make a real impact on his neighbors.

“Because of COVID, people have lost their jobs,” Donald Sandifer said. “They don’t have the money to pay for an inspection. The Lee County Commission doing that, that’s a godsend for a lot of people.”

In total, paying for these inspections will cost Lee County $46,000.

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