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Armstrong Council approves cemetery transfer

By Staff | Mar 8, 2011

ARMSTRONG – The Armstrong City Council Monday agreed to accept two cemeteries from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in exchange for the city managing perpetual care of the properties.

In exchange, the city is receiving several acres – most of which does not yet contain grave plats.

John Rudd, speaking for St. Mary’s, said Bishop R. Walker Nickless had approved the cemetery transfer and that a quit claim deed would be forthcoming.

The board agreed to accept the cemeteries pending approval from the city attorney.

The council heard an appeal from Joseph Wegner regarding a citation for having a pit bull in the city limits.

Wegner said the dog was not a pit bull but a Staffordshire terrier.

Council member Dave Grussing read the ordinance to Wegner, noting that a Staffordshire terrier was covered under the ordinance provisions.

“He admits he has a Staffordshire terrier and it says right here you can’t have it,” said council member Don Leach.

The council directed Wegner to remove the animal from the city limits within three days.

The council also discussed proposed cemetery rules. Grussing offered some concerns.

“I think some of these go overboard and I think we should remember who the cemetery is for – it’s the relatives of these dead people,” Grussing said.

Elward Picht, who had the current cemetery maintenance contract and who was on hand to review the rules, offered concerns about the time and cost of trimming around service markers and other items placed around headstones. He said he spent $933 trimming last year, about a sixth of what he was paid in his contract.

Grussing asked that families be given two weeks to remove items placed after Memorial Day, rather than the Wednesday after as called for under the proposed rules. He said he would still have a problem with requiring that service markers be removed after two weeks.

Leach said he would like to have the rules in place for a year before they are placed on a sign.

The proposed rules are as follow:

n No flowers shall be stuck or planted in ground.

n All flower pots are to be put in urns and placed on the righthand side of marker.

n Decorations, which include solar lights, wind socks, plastic flower decorations, decorative rocks and plaques, eternal lights or anything that distracts from the appearance of the cemetery will be removed and placed in the equipment shed for you to pick up.

n From April 15 until Sept. 30 one shepard’s hook or one urn stand may be placed on the righthand side of the marker.

n Christmas wreaths are allowed from Dec. 1 until March 1.

n Nothing shall be placed to the front or rear of the marker on the grass.

n Government and organizational markers may be placed from Wednesday before Memorial Day and removed on the Wednesday after Memorial Day.

n Trees, shrubs and flowers are not allowed to be planted unless they are placed in designated areas and approved by Armstrong Cemetery Board and Armstrong City Council.

n Anyone who does not follow rules will have decorations removed.

In another matter, Tom Leach, city public works director, said the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working on wastewater permits. He said if the city could get all the aerators working and keep the city lagoon from freezing over that would greatly help bring the city’s wastewater discharge into the east fork of the Des Moines into compliance.

The council also declined to reimburse a jetting fee request from a property owner and approved a liquor license, Sunday sales and beer garden privileges for Country Greens Golf Course.