BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A proposed increase in city cemetery fees that was to be discussed at Tuesday night’s city council meeting was tabled due to lack of attendance.
Councilman Chris Greenwald, serving as mayor pro-tem for the third straight meeting, removed the item from the agenda prior to the council voting to approve the agenda.
“My reason for that, as you can see that we’ve got a few people not here tonight, and it’s kind of a hot tamale that needs some serious argument…discussion I should call it,” Greenwald said.
At the time, only councilman Bob Morawitz, Rusty Andrews, Mark Lair and Greenwald were in attendance. Councilman Chad Cangas arrived shortly after the meeting started.
The city was proposing to boost regular weekday city burial services by $50, but was going to take substantial increases in weekend services. Some of the biggest hits were for Sunday and holiday burials. Saturday fees are being proposed for 2019 at a 76% increase and Sunday/holiday increases could be as high as 111% to $2,000.
The proposal submitted to the council from City Clerk Melinda Blind showed a proposed Sunday/holiday adult rate at $2,000 up from $950 previously and all Sunday/holiday burials would require authorization from the city’s Public Works Director. The child/infant rate would be $1,000 on Sundays up from $600.
The issue is planned to be included on the Dec. 18 city council agenda.
In an unrelated issue, the city also approved a final reading of the new city fireworks ordinance which will be published on Friday. That means the new law is in effect on Friday and from that date it will be illegal to discharge first and second class fireworks within city limits without a city permit.
In other action, the city approved the purchase of two Dodge Durango’s for the police department at a cost of approximately $58,000. Police Chief Tim Sittig said the trade-in value or sale of the vehicles will be used to outfit the new vehicles as some of the emergency equipment won’t be able to be transferred.