Cemetery association requests paving, again
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
The Burge Cemetery Association is once again requesting that Henry County pave the road by Burge Cemetery, west of New London.
“This is our third meeting with you gentlemen,” Paul McPheron told the Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning. “Frankly, we’ll be back.”
The association first approached the supervisors about paving the gravel road by the cemetery in March 2012. That original request was to have Oasis Avenue from 260th Street to 257th Street and 257th Street changed from gravel to hard surface — a distance of about one mile.
Tuesday morning, the association asked the supervisors to consider doing just Oasis Avenue.
“That’s only like 4/10 of a mile and would give us one paved road to the cemetery,” said Don Johnson. “We would like to have just one paved road to the cemetery, if possible.”
According to the association, Burge Cemetery is the only cemetery in the county that is not on a hard surface access road. The gravel creates problems, especially when there are funerals, because the funeral processions and other traffic on the road stir up dust, which then coats the attendees, they noted.
“We had two or three funerals late last fall, and it was embarrassing,” said Chuck Nole, who said it did not matter to him whether the hard surface road was blacktop or even seal coated.
“I guess what I’m really saying is we would take anything we can get,” he said.
“All we would like would be a dust-free access,” said McPheron.
In order to do this project, it would need to be worked into the county’s five-year plan with the state. Before that can be done, the project would need to be justified by looking at the cost-benefit ratio and the road’s rating, which County Engineer Bill Belzer explained is determined by a system set up by the state that looks at data such as traffic count and the status of the adjacent roads.
Although Belzer did not have the rating for the roads with him on Tuesday, he noted that the traffic count was 90 vehicles per day on 257th Street and only 60 vehicles per day on that stretch of Oasis Avenue.
“It is fairly low traffic,” said Belzer.
Oasis Avenue does have the lower traffic count of the two, but the association suggested paving that stretch of road because it is a shorter distance and most funeral processions use that road.
Supervisor Vice Chairman Marc Lindeen questioned whether there was something that could be done on the west side of the cemetery to help decrease the dust. He also asked whether the association would be able to assist monetarily with the cost of paving the road and whether the association had spoken with the City of New London.
Johnson replied that they had spoken with the city council last year and he believed the mayor wrote a letter to the supervisors.
Supervisor Chairman Gary See told the association that the board would not table the topic indefinitely as they had in the past but that there would be a discussion on it.
Belzer will be looking into the rating of the road and also determining the cost-benefit ratio.
In other business, the supervisors:
- Approved a resolution for the purchase of two tandem dump trucks from Midway Freightliner of Palmyra, Mo., for $198,630. This was the low bid from the March 19 bid letting, and Belzer chose to go with the extended warranty, which is 60 months or 200,000 miles instead of a two-year warranty.
- Approved a dissemination agent agreement with Northland Securities for $1,250 per year. County Auditor Shelly Barber explained that this is due to a new regulation from the federal government that will be in effect in the new fiscal year.
- Approved a policy on bidding projects that states any work or project needing to be done will be brought to the board of supervisors, which will take care of the bidding and awarding of contract. Barber explained that this had come up in previous county audits, as there was no policy in place to ensure that family members of county employees will not be hired for more than $1,500 in work in a fiscal year. By monitoring the projects, the county can make sure that this maximum is not exceeded.