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Cemetery fees increased; administrator gets raise

by Shana Haines
Landmark reporter

Fees dealing with the Platte City Cemetery were increased by the board of aldermen at a meeting Tuesday night.

According to Tanya Bates, city clerk, the cemetery has been operating in a deficit for the past four years, and will do so this year.

The last plot increase was in 2001 when the cemetery committee increased prices by $50, bringing the sale price of a grave lot to $350.

Currently, $250 of the fee is placed into perpetual care and the remaining $100 is used for operation expenses.

Since the city's plot costs are considerably lower than area communities, it was suggested by the cemetery committee to increase the lot price.

The cemetery committee had previously approved and recommended an increase in the purchase of a grave lot to $500, with the entire amount being placed in perpetual care.

By placing the entire amount in perpetual care, once the cemetery is full there will be enough money that the cemetery can be maintained with the interest from the fund.

To generate operating revenue it was also recommended by the cemetery committee to propose a $450 grave opening and closing fee at the time of burial.

"We are not in the business of making money on the cemetery. We do have to have money to do maintenance," Mayor Dave Brooks said.

City Administrator Keith Moody said the increase was the best option for the cemetery.

"It (the increase) is a little higher than some, but lower than others. We have to deal with the cemetery or subsidize it out of general funds, and you don't want to do that," Moody.

A formal policy on how a monument should be installed in the cemetery was also added to the cemetery code. In the past, monument companies erected the monuments however they chose.

In another matter, after recent complaints that dog owners were allowing their animals to "do their duty" on sidewalks and on the private property of others, aldermen approved amending the animal regulations portion of the city code.

The amendment reads as follows:

"An owner of every animal, when such animal is off the property controlled by the owner shall be responsible for the removal of any excreta deposited by such animal on public property, public walks, public street, public parks, public cemetery, rights-of-way and on private property."

Prior to the meeting, aldermen met and discussed a pay increase for Moody.

Alderman Ron Porter voted against the 2.32 percent increase.

"I think he makes enough," Porter said. "For a town of this size with only 4,000 people, when you make $60,000 that is enough."

The increase would take Moody's salary from $62,056 to $63,500 annually.

The remaining aldermen voted for the increase.

Brooks asked aldermen to approve Tom Wooddell, the city building inspector/codes enforcement officer, to sit on the Platte City Parks Board. The board has two vacancies, according to Brooks, and Wooddell was approved to fill one of those spots.

"I have got to have some guys who want to work. When it's 100 degrees on the Fourth of July, we have to have someone doing snow cones," Brooks said.

Brooks added he is still seeking a second individual to sit on the board.

Aldermen also approved the purchase of a $4,050 used manure spreader.
The spreader was requested by Public Works Director Leonard Hendricks in order to transport solid waste to J.D. White's farm.

Hendricks said White is interested in the sludge, but doesn't have a spreader.

Hendricks added purchasing the spreader would be the most cost efficient. And the farm is only six miles away, as compared to the previous farm the waste was transported to, which was 20 miles away.

Hendricks said it would be $13,000 for a new spreader.

The purchase is not a budgeted item. However, Hendricks stressed the urgency of the purchase.

"We have two basins that are ready to go. We have a plant that produces a lot of sludge," Hendricks said.