Montgomery Cemetery Maintenance Ordinance Adopted - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Montgomery Cemetery Maintenance Ordinance Adopted

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Residents voiced their opinion during the public comments portion of Tuesday's city council meeting about the deplorable conditions of many cemeteries across the city and the lack of help getting them cleaned up.

"It is ludicrous that our loved ones have to lay in such deplorable conditions at west side cemeteries as they are," Project Cemetery founder Jimmie McFarland said.

"And I get about 700 calls a year about cemetery preservation issues," Alabama Historical Commission Representative Lee Anne Wofford said.

"I look forward to the day when all the cemeteries in Montgomery are in good condition and have sufficient records to the share the descendents and tourists of Montgomery," Oakwood Cemetery Sexton Phillip Taunton said.  

It was a unanimous decision for city council members to amend and adopt an ordinance that would establish procedures for maintenance of cemeteries. The ordinance requires people to buy a burial permit that cost $125. That money will be used for the upkeep of neglected cemeteries.

"We've got 20 or so cemeteries in Montgomery, half of which are really operating legally, the other half is not, they don't know where people are buried, they don't have a sexton. And so by enacting this ordinance for maintenance and operation of a cemetery, we will then able to going forward and know where people are buried, have a sexton and have the cemeteries in a state that we can be proud of and certainly respectable for the dead who are buried there," Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said.

The ordinance will require the mayor's signature to go into effect. He said he would sign it Wednesday. Next week city leaders will meet with the Lincoln Cemetery Rehabilitation Authority to discuss restoration of the neglected cemeteries.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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