Town of Holly Springs Town Council Meeting Agenda Form

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Town of Holly Springs Town Council Meeting Agenda Form
Town of Holly Springs
Town Council Meeting Agenda Form
Town Clerk’s Office Use:
Agenda Item #: 9b
Attachment #: 5
Meeting Date:
May 17,2016
Agenda Placement: New Business
(Special Recognitions (awards, proclamations), Requests & Communications (reports, information presentations), Public Hearings, Consent Agenda, Unfinished Business, New Business, Closed Session)
Subject Title: Holly Springs Cemetery Policy
Presenter Name(s):
Elizabeth Goodson
_________________________________________________________________________________________________
SUBJECT HIGHLIGHTS:
Attached is draft policy changes staff added following many citizen concerns and discussions with Brad
Bailey, who is with Wake Memorial Park, pending our upcoming arrangement for them to help with our
cemetery burials. We are needing to incorporate their role into our policy and were waiting for the agreement
to be complete before we moved this forward. In light of the recent concerns raised, I wanted to share this
draft as a starting point for updating. Track changes have been used to clearly show what was previously
approved vs what I have modified with this draft.
Most of the complaints and concerns that I have received are related to three areas: 1) not receiving
the letter notifying them of the changes 2) not understanding why we are prohibiting clip on arrangements 3)
disputing our interpretation when flowers at the base of the headstone are to be removed (i.e. plot owner’s
opinion is that they were recent flowers purchased and placed within last few week or days)
We are updating our records as I hear from people who were not included in the original mailing to
address the first item. We may have had old information or the address was never noted with the plot
purchase records we have on file. The other 2 items can be addressed with clarification to the policy.
The only item that I have not covered in the policy draft already that needs to be discussed and
addressed is where and how we want to allow flowers to be placed. At this time our policy speaks to no
flowers may be affixed to the headstone such as clip on arrangements. If we prohibit this, we need to clearly
cover where and how we will allow flowers to be placed. Here are items I would recommend we consider:
‐ We have many family’s headstones that do not have vases. IF we want to consider restricting flowers
to a vase, I would recommend that we allow for plastic vases to be added at the base of the headstone
when these flowers are placed and allow the other language of the policy to help with removal of ones
that are faded or dead.
‐ Potted plants can cause a maintenance problem especially when they blow away. I would recommend
that we not encourage potted plants. If we choose to allow, I have been told that we could require that
a granite circle be added flush to the base of the headstone to allow a place for these.
‐ If we consider adding back the clip on arrangement, I would recommend that we add language about
how we expect them to be kept (not blocking names and information on the headstone, etc.)
Hank e-mailed a few recommendations which are not reflected in this draft policy yet. I have them with my
other notes so I can use them after the Town Council gives us direction next week.
Attached is a collection of email transmissions on this topic, including the mayor’s input.
Advisory board recommendation, if applicable:
n/a
Staff recommendation, if applicable:
n/a
Agenda Topic Cover Sheet / last modified Dec. 2, 2013
Total Number of Motions: 0
Action(s) requested or suggested motion(s):
Direction to staff with a Council consensus for policy changes
Funds, if applicable, are to be appropriated from account(s) / line item(s):
n/a
SUBJECT IN GREATER DETAIL, IF NEEDED:
n/a
Staff Review Record
_______________________________________________________________________
Are there exhibits for this agenda item? Yes
List them in order they should appear in packet: policy draft; email messages
Department head initials and comments, if applicable:
Finance director initials and comments, if applicable:
Town attorney initials and comments, if applicable:
Town manager initials and / or comments: css by jp
Town clerk initials: jp
Agenda Topic Cover Sheet / last modified Dec. 2, 2013
P-042
Town Cemetery Rules & Procedures
Holly Springs, N.C.
Policy & Procedure
Statements
of the Holly Springs Town Council
Prepared By:
Elizabeth Goodson
Department:
Date Approved by Council:
Effective Date:
Supersedes Old #:
Engineering
Oct. 6, 2015
Oct. 6, 2015
N/A
Old Effective Date:
N/A
Purpose:
Cemeteries are places of prayer and remembrance. To honor those who have passed
and to preserve the appearance and character of the Cemetery, the Town of Holly Springs
will strive to enforce clean and orderly maintenance and management over the short- and
long-term care of the property. To this end, the Town will adhere to and enforce the
following guidelines for Holly Springs Cemetery operations including plot purchasing and
interment procedures.
Scope/Coverage:
This policy outlines Town and its licensee’s responsibilities with respect to cemetery
operations in addition to rules, regulations and responsibilities for applicants, cemetery
visitors, and funeral home operators.
Definitions:
Town – Town of Holly Springs staff.
Licensee – A person or a company who has been granted a licenses to act on the town’s
behalf to operate and maintain the Cemetery property.
Applicant – The responsible party (but not the funeral home) that either petitions Town for
interment or the purchase of a plot.
Funeral Home – The licensed funeral home or representative working for applicant.
Resident – Person whose primary place of residence is within the incorporated limits of
Holly Springs.
Non-Resident – Person whose primary place of residence is outside of the incorporated
limits of Holly Springs.
Headstone – A permanent monument marker made of bronze, granite, marble, or other
natural stone and placed at the head of plot that includes at a minimum the following
information: 1) Full name of the deceased and 2) Date of death.
Interment Administration Fee – Fee required from applicant at the time of interment
request in order to cover administrative oversight costs for services provided by Town
<<This needs to be updated with new fee structure with Wake Memorial Park>>.
Plot – Generally aA 5 feet by 10 feet grave site.
Lot – Generally a A set of four 5’x10’ Plots.
Policy Statement:
1. The Cemetery Fee Schedule for plot sales and interment administration will be set
annually by Town Council. Residents will receive preferential treatment over non-residents
only with respect to the purchase price of cemetery plots. All fees must be paid according
to the current fee schedule.
2. The Interment Administration Fee is to be paid in full prior to the interment. <<Since
WMP is handling>>.
3. Town requires a headstone to be placed at every plot at the expense of applicant. Within
ninety (90) days of interment, the applicant shall notify the town that a contract has been
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obtained for the installation purchase of the headstone and the expected timeline for
installation of the marker. Temporary markers provided by funeral homes are for the
purpose of marking the grave in the interim between burial and the delivery of the the
permanent headstone and shall not exceed XXX days. Foot markers are allowed provided
that they are placed at the food of the grave and are bronze, granite, marble, or other
natural stone and shall note exceed XXX in size. Furthermore, applicant must notify Town
three (3) days prior to installation of the marker so that the plot can be marked.
4. The Town reserves the right to remove all floral arrangements, flowers, trees, shrubs,
plants, or herbage of any kind from the cemetery as soon as, in the judgment of Town,
they become unsightly, dangerous, detrimental, diseased, or when they do not conform to
the standard maintained. Furthermore, Town reserves the exclusive right to maintain the
grounds and/or landscape of all cemetery property and plots. The town prohibits affixing
anything to the headstone or marker (i.e. clip-on flower arrangements.)
5. Town prohibits the burial of anything other than a human body or human remains in the
cemetery and further prohibits the burial of a human body above ground.
6. An outer burial container, vault, or grave liner constructed onf concrete or polyvinyl
material made for the purpose of enclosing a casket for burial is required for all burials.
Vaults or lining are required for all burials.
7. The Town will permit up to two (2) urns with cremated remains to be placed in one plot
(5’ x10’)
8. Applicants seeking to purchase any plot must designate the name of the person(s) to
be interred and validate residency status at the time of purchase.
9. The cemetery will close to all visitors at dark. Violators will be considered to be
trespassing and may be prosecuted according to the law.
10. Grass shall be the only ground cover for plots after interment. No coping (outlining) of
graves with any material natural or manmade (like rocks, fencing, plants, mulch, etc.) is
allowed at any time. No personal items should be left at the grave including candles,
mementos, lights, toys, beverage containers, benches etc. and shall be removed
immediately by town personnel or licensees. No glass or other breakable containers are
allowed at any time.
11. Applicant must use the town’s designated licensee a funeral home to open and close
a grave. Funeral homeThe plot must be covered and leveled after the a closed grave is
closed with a layer of sod or two (2) inches of top soil with warm season grass seed and
straw at grade. The depth of each grave shall not be less than four (4) feetbe of a depth
to allow a minimum of 18 inches from the top of the outer burial container (vault) to the
ground surface. Furthermore, funeral home must provide a certificate of insurance for
anyone performing service of any type within the cemetery. <<Possible remove last
statement too due to licensee handling.>>
12. Town reserves the right to restrict cemetery usage by a funeral procession in the event
of a scheduling conflict.
13. Town reserves the right to deny access to the cemetery by any funeral home found
negligible in adherence to these policy standards.
14. Upon the conclusion of the funeral services and interment, all tents, funeral flowers
and stands must be removed.
Procedure:
All fees should be paid to the finance department at Holly Springs Town Hall. Town will
mark the plot where funeral home will open the grave.
Purchase of Cemetery Plot:
Applicants interested in purchasing a plot must fill out the necessary forms with the
engineering department at Holly Springs Town Hall. Applicants purchasing a plot will
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Rules Procedures.docx
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receive a deed in the name of the interment designee at the time of purchase with a map
of the plot.
Interment Procedures:
Applicants interested in scheduling an interment must fill out the necessary forms with the
engineering department at Holly Springs Town Hall. Town has the right to refuse
requested interment date and time if such date and/or time are not deemed reasonable.
Applicant and funeral home must arrange for the actual interment at the cemetery.
Town will inspect the quality of interment based on policy standards. Failure to adhere
to the policy by funeral home and/or applicant may result in refusal of service.
End of Policy Statement No. P-042
Adopted by the Holly Springs Town Council on Oct. 6, 2015 as certified by:
Joni Powell, NCCMC
Town Clerk
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Rules Procedures.docx
Emails Regarding Cemetery Policy:
Councilman Hank Dickson
Thank you. I am for all rules, limitations an actions which ensure that : the facility remains
honorable, clean and tidy, sight lines of memorials are not blocked by clip on or affixed
decorations, provides clear and redundant communication and availability of rules and
communicates when maintenance sweeps will be done.
The recent removal of fresh flowers placed by a family during a sweep was due to unfortunate
timing. I think that publishing a sweep calendar will avoid these issues.
I remain opposed to any kind of attachment to headstones. Also hope to see the removal of
the gravel, mulch, benches and statuary which remain on a few grave sites.
With the recent fencing installed around the cemetery, along with the upcoming roads and
implementation of appearance rules and guidelines, we will have a facility which is attractive in
appearance and provides honor and dignity to the departed.
For everyone's reference here are some photos I took during 2015. This one was taken on Dec 20, 2015. As you can see there is a pumpkin and dead chrysanthemums, both likely left there during the fall. This photo was taken in June. The plastic heart tripod arrangement and plastic basket were there in January when my father was buried. This was also taken in June. It was likely an Easter decoration left behind. As you can see these clip ons are pretty tall and can obscure views of headstones behind it. Also in the background is an example of gravesites which used gravel, plastic edging and mulch instead of grass. Mayor Sears
Below are my thoughts and as you know, we have discussed most of my thoughts with
reference to your “draft” recently. We are certainly in total agreement as it relates to the
overall purpose of cleaning up the cemetery however I have some disagreements/suggestions
on a couple issues, so with respect (see below):
Agree on the gravel, plastic edging and mulch instead of grass. However, i find the exclusion
of clip ons and artificial flowers troublesome (“the town prohibits affixing anything to the
headstone or marker (i.e. Clip on flower arrangements”). My reasons include:
1. I have personally used this alternative many times over the years in Lapel and
Remington, Indiana (family plots) and i do not agree that this option should be
eliminated.
2. If removed at a certain time due to the clips and their contents have become worn
or dirty, etc., fine.
3. I also personally think that this specific rule would be looked upon as “council overreach”.
4. I also do not agree with the comment of “obscure views of headstones behind it”. I
feel most all visitors know where their headstones are and again that is based upon
personal experience—they are not really that high nor in bad taste in my opinion.
5. I also refer to the email to Kendra from Elizabeth dated May 11.
6. I further also suggest that any words that are subject to personal interpretation be
added to with specifics. That will assist whomever removes items to have a clear
understanding of their role.
7. I have received many calls from citizens who were concerned (some were not very
pleasant) and the last call i have received was as late as may 9th. Although i was
not aware of this, i now understand that the staff has also received many
complaints. Most, i am sure, related to the removals prior to mother’s day but also
the issue of clip ons have also come to my personal attention.
In summary, I know this will be a council decision (I only vote in case of ties) but I felt it
important that my views be considered—an approach that I rarely use. Thank you and thanks
to Hank for his research, comments, and intent to clean up the cemetery. In essence, those
are my only concerns.
Councilwoman Cheri Lee
I think fresh flowers should be allowed on grave sites. I was informed today that another email
is headed our way.
Resident Debbie Wall
Mayor Sears,
Thank you for your time today and for listening to me.
However; I wanted to make a point of how disappointed I am in the decision of the council in
October 2015. I certainly appears the town council made a new cemetery policy within their
own “bubble”, without concern for the folks who own plots in the cemetery. We, have a Family
Plot that has been in our Family for more than 60 years and two plots for my parents. I go to
the cemetery often to make sure the flowers are pretty and not weathered, especially for my
parents. I have always used the clip on arrangements for their headstone. To my surprise I
went over to the cemetery Saturday, May 7, and no flowers attached to the headstone. Only
about three flower arrangements for the entire cemetery. I thought the people who cut the
grass had removed the flowers. And that is why I called you, to file a complaint. After talking
with you I find out the town has a new policy, overriding what has existed for over 100 years. I
am so disappointed in the actions taken by Town Employees and the Town Council. Reasons
why: Plots belong to Families, Flowers belong to the Family, No notification to owners of a
new policy, No respect shown to a final resting place for our loved ones, making a new policy
without consideration of Families, Town Council making a decision based only on what they
think, and without input from at least Holly Springs residents. Keep in mind my Tax Dollars
pay the Salaries of these employees.
What I do understand the Town is responsible for the maintaining, that to me is upkeep of the
grounds. Not to inspect flowers at the graves. Flowers at the gravesite should be the
responsibility of family members. As I read through the minutes of the October Meeting of the
Town Council, I see “clip arrangements” are no longer allowed. Why is this a problem? This is
what I use all of the time for my parents. On special days I put flowers on the Family Plot, in a
special cone container or a decorated cross on the ground. I cannot think of any negative
issues with the use of these. I can only think the town wants our Cemetery to be just like
perhaps other places…..well we are not other places. We are Holly Springs, we have a
beautiful cemetery, it is a peaceful place. I want this to be our protected space, the same as it
has been for the past 100 years.
Also as I read through the policy notes from October, 2015 I see another change, “ 14. Upon
the conclusion of the funeral services and interment, all tents, funeral flowers and stands must
be removed. “
Why is this? I would like an answer. Appears the Town wants to dictate ….
Please consider me as a disappointed resident of my always Hometown, Holly Springs. I grew
up in Holly Springs. I do not appreciate the Town (removing) my flowers from my parents
headstone.