By Wayne Gates –
Changes are coming to Confidence Cemetery in Georgetown.
They will require anyone who has decorations on the graves of loved ones to make sure they don’t violate the rules of the cemetery.
The Georgetown Village Council voted on May 10 to hire a contractor to mow and trim the cemetery, instead of village employees using weedkiller around the stones.
“The contract will allow us to mow 30 times a season and trim 15 times a season,” said Village Administrator Art Owens.
“With the size of the cemetery, it is impossible to mow and weed-eat the cemetery with the one full time and one part time person that we have.”
Owens said that cemetery employees have used weed killer to try and keep up the maintenance.
“Over the years, they have used weed killer around the stones and in other parts of the cemetery because of the inability to use a weed trimmer near the stones. That has led to dead grass and erosion near the stones and in other parts of the cemetery.”
To prevent that erosion, use of weed killer will stop. That will require the rules about decorations to be strictly enforced.
“We are going to give everyone until June 24 to come and remove all of their decorative material. If they are not removed by that time, we will remove them and discard them,” said Owens.
A village council resolution dated July 14, 2016 contains the rules for the cemetery, including those for decorations.
Those rules, designed to make mowing and general maintenance easier, include “Holiday decorations will be removed one week after the holiday except those decorations in monument vases.”
Another rule prohibits borders and edging around monuments. They are not to exceed six inches from any side of the monument or they are subject to removal.
Finally, “Any decoration, solar lights, flowers, etc. that interfere with mowing or general maintenance will be immediately removed by cemetery personnel,” according to the ordnance.
Owens said that the erosion caused by the weed killer was causing problems.
“The foundations of a some of the stones are exposed and it’s also caused some of the stones to sink several inches,” he said.
Owens said that he understands that the new rules may take some getting used to.
“In the past, the rules have been relaxed because we had been using the weed killer and it wasn’t an issue. But those decorations don’t allow us to mow close enough to the stones to complete mowing in a timely manner,” he said.