The Pryor Times

July 12, 2013

Salina considers cemetery variance

Staff Writer
Susan Wagoner

— Salina Board of Trustees considered a request for a variance to cemetery rules and regulations regarding lots owned by Herman Merritt at their meeting Tuesday night.

Merritt was granted an earlier variance allowing him to place a 90-inch headstone on a joint plot where his wife is buried.

O’Rourke explained to the board that Merritt was seeking insurance on the costly headstone.

“The insurance company told him he had to have iron fencing around the plots,” O’Rourke said.

“Have you seen something from the insurance company? This is exactly why you made changes to the cemetery rules several years ago,” Gaddis said. “I think this would be setting a terrible precedent. Terrible.”

O’Rourke explained that Merritt hoped to put wrought iron fencing around the eight plots he owns. He also plans to put a statue in the area as well as marble.

“It amounts to a private mausoleum, in a public cemetery,” Gaddis said. “This board can do whatever it wants, but I think it’s a bad idea.”

Gaddis suggested the board table the issue and request to see something from the insurance company as well as plans for perpetual care.

“When he is gone who is going to maintain it?” Gaddis said. “Not the Town of Salina.”

The issue was tabled.

In other business, trustees approved a dispatching agreement with the Locust Grove Police Department for a cost of $750 per month.

Police Chief Vince Stoyanoski said the change had already been made and is working very well.

Also approved was an expenditure of $600 for the purchase of two additional radios for the police department. The radios will replace older hand-held units currently being used.

Trustees approved repairs to the 2010 Dodge Charger police car at a cost of $1,968.13. The repairs will be paid from remaining insurance settlement funds.

The board discussed staffing options as well as additional compensation options for the police department.

The discussion revolved around allowing officers to drive police cars to and from home.

“I have to admit, I’m a bit gunshy based on past history,” O’Rourke said.

Trustee Dennis Weston agreed.

“Not saying anything about the guys we have now, but in the past I’ve seen cars totaled that were in places they shouldn’t have been,” Weston said. “I’m just not for it.”

Trustees also discussed the additional fuel cost and how to budget it without knowing how much it would be.

Ultimately, the board asked Stoyanoski to prepare a policy for review.

“It will have to be a strict policy,” O’Rourke said. “No second chances.”

Trustees tabled adding an additional officer to fill a vacancy until a compensation policy and other budget questions are reviewed.

Salina’s Library received four new computers donated from Salina-Spavinaw Telephone, according to Library Director Lou Ella Martin, who provided a report for the board. Martin plans to host a genealogy class at the library on Tuesday nights.

The library added 62 books thanks to a grant of $1,050 and a donation of $350 from Friends of the Library.