Lepanto council approves cemetery ordinance

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Lepanto City Council took care of some old business Tuesday with the approval of an ordinance regulating headstone height in the new section of the cemetery. Last month, the council discussed the old ordinance which stipulated that gravestones in section four of Potter Memorial Cemetery be flat but did not specify that they be ground level. Mayor Dale Dunlap recommended the headstones be no more than an inch above ground so the city could mow without the lawnmower hitting the them.

Alderman Leroy Matlock brought up concern that headstones so close to the ground would sink since the ground out there is gumbo. City Clerk Tamara Wyatt pointed out that three months ago a lady had called city hall thinking someone had stolen a family member's gravestone. It turned out that with the rain, the ground had shifted and covered up the gravestone, and the city had to dig it up.

"Having them at ground level is going to be a headache for a lot of families," said Alderman Earnie Hill. He questioned whether or not future generations would be able to find headstones if the ordinance regulated their height too low.

Eventually, the council decided that gravestones should be flat and no more than three inches above ground level. They unanimously approved the ordinance with the emergency clause.

The council also approved the legislative audit. According to Wyatt, the city has worked to correct all the issues raised in the audit. Some of the issues were things the city has always done but the auditors have not brought up until now. For example, Wyatt said that to pay the volunteer firefighters, she has always written a check to the fire department, and the fire department has written the individual checks to the firemen. Now the city has to write the individual checks to each fireman.

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