Lanett hears second reading on increased gravesite rates

Published 12:00 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

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LANETT — The Lanett City Council on Monday held a second reading and approved an amended ordinance to increase the rates charged in the Hillcrest and Pine Hill cemeteries for gravesites.

The rates are being raised to have the city on par with what’s being charged at other cemeteries in the local area.

The new rates for city residents are $400 for a two-grave lot in the new portion of Hillcrest Cemetery, $800 for a four-grave lot in Old Hillcrest and $200 for a one-grave lot in the Pine Hill Cemetery.

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For those not living in the city but who want to make a lot of purchases in one of these two cemeteries, the rate is double: $800 for a two-grave lot in New Hillcrest, $1,600 for a four-grave lot in Old Hillcrest and $400 for a one-grave lot at Pine Hill.

The purchase can be made in cash, debit/credit card or money order to the city clerk. In situations where someone who lived most of their life in the city but were living somewhere else when they died, the in-city rate will apply.

Council Member Tifton Dobbs said he would like for the council to have an open mind on amending the ordinance at a later date to charge the same rates in both New and Old Hillcrest.

In another matter relating to cemeteries, the council approved a grant request to purchase three new vehicles needed for the Cemetery & Grounds Department. According to Police Chief Johnny Wood, two of the trucks are 15 years old and the third truck has over 260,000 miles on it.

“We have been running these trucks for about as long as we can,” he said. “We need some new ones.”

The grant request that’s being sought by the city is on a 55/45 basis through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). If approved, the grant would allow the city to purchase three new Ford F-150 trucks at a total cost of $102,000. The city would pay $17,500 per vehicle with the federal government covering the rest.

“Hopefully, we will know something within the next eight weeks,” Wood said.

The council approved a change order for a Community Development Block Grant that funded a portion of the streetscape work that’s been going on in the downtown area. It’s a final change order needed to close out this phase of the work. It’s for just under $40,000 and brings the total contract account to $527,107.20.

Council Member Dobbs said he had recently taken a tour of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and had seen some repair work that needs to be done.

“We need to talk about this in a work session,” he said. “One of the systems that’s down needs to be up and running.”

The city owns the plant, but a private contractor, Clearwater Solutions, runs the plant.

Dobbs said there’s some city-owned junk vehicles at the site that need to be moved and that a service road needs to be cleared of nails.

“It has been causing tires to go flat,” he said. “The vehicles can’t be fixed, and grass is grown up around them. It does not look good. It looks like a site for dumping.”

Heard said he had been talking about this to the right people and had been assured the vehicles would be moved soon.

A Clearwater representative at the meeting said he was fairly certain they could take care of an algae problem in the downtown fountain.

Electrical and Gas Superintendent Steve Crawley told the council that he’s “98.8 percent sure” that they have taken care of a possible gas leak near the old Lanett kindergarten building.

City Attorney Stanley Gray told council members that he had been discussing a school property issue with Chambers County Board of Education attorney Bob Meadows and expected the matter to be resolved soon.

Heard thanked the recreation department on having done good work in putting on an Easter egg hunt this past Friday at the playground across from W.O. Lance Elementary School.

“We had a good turnout, and everyone seemed to enjoy it,” he said. “We want to thank the Fuller Center for providing us some bikes, a children’s scooter and two large Easter baskets as prizes.”

Heard will be out of town at an Alabama League of Municipalities meeting on Monday, May 1. The next city council meeting would normally take place on that day but has been rescheduled to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 5th.