Almer Township now has a cemetery ordinance.
The new law comes after six months of research and work, and was approved Tuesday by the township board.
Supervisor Jim Mantey said the ordinance (which is printed in its entirety on page B6) tries to focus on good stewardship of the cemetery while also remaining welcoming to those whose loved ones are buried there.
Mantey said he didn’t know why the township hadn’t passed a cemetery ordinance before.
“It is just one of those things we inherited,” he said.
The ordinance both codifies what has been common practice, he said, while also protecting people who have purchased plots at the cemetery. It also gives the township legal support for some of the maintenance work needed to be done at the facility at M-81 and Deckerville Road, especially in the older section.
“In the older part of the cemetery a lot of those families are not represented in the community anymore,” Mantey said. “So it is hard to find somebody and we didn’t have the authority to just go in there and clean something up.
“Now we’ll feel like we’re on more solid ground when it comes to cleaning up some of the issues out there.”
Making the cemetery both presentable and welcoming is the goal of the new law.
“As a perpetual care cemetery, for most townships it is a commitment,” Mantey said. “To the best of our ability we try to make good on that commitment, but it can be very challenging.
“I would love to have the resources to go in there and straighten up and make a lot of those older headstones plumb again and to make it look more respectable, but it is an expensive undertaking.”
The board also:
• Learned from the parks committee that the new $3,500 maintenance barn had been delivered and installed at Darbee Park. The barn, bought through Home Depot, replaces a smaller building. The new one offers more storage space.
• Learned most of the township’s road work is done for the year. The township paved a mile of Graf Road, between Darbee and Dutcher roads. It was the oldest mile of pavement in the township. A chip-and-seal – a layer of liquid asphalt covered by a layer of crushed gravel – also was applied to three miles of Dutcher Road. Mantey said a few more miles of pavement also will get some crack seal.
• Was thanked by the Caro Fire Dept. for hosting a training session at the township’s Luder Road facility.
• Dealt with a couple of blight issues.
• Replaced Mike Putnam with Chris Wilcox as the township representative on the Caro Transit Authority. Jim Rosenstangel is the other township representative.
Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.