The Odessa Record -

Town Council

Cemetery rules sadden some


A group of concerned citizens including Terry Connolly, Janie Steward, Shelley Hauge, Deanna Nelson, Connie Greenwalt and Tracy Walter attended the Odessa Town Council meeting April 23 to ask council members to consider the feelings of loved ones who regularly visit the cemetery and to consider passing a proposed amendment to Ordinance #687 which recently took effect.

The main focus of the ordinance is to prevent damage to the town’s equipment. Mower blades in particular have been broken in the past by hitting hard objects hidden in the grass. Mayor Bill Crossley apologized to those present, saying that the ordinance was passed strictly for monetary reasons and was in no way meant to hurt anyone.

Section 3 of the ordinance states: “For the purpose of protecting the cemetery maintenance equipment; each year from April 1 through October 31, with the exception of the week before and the week after Memorial Day, only fresh flowers will be allowed to be placed on cemetery lots or graves. Any other structures, decorations, etc., will be removed and placed behind the chapel for owner pick-up. Flowers will be disposed of as they become unsightly and vases will be placed behind the chapel for owner pick-up. The Town of Odessa is not responsible for any lost of damaged items.”

Speaking for the group present, Janie Steward read a proposed amendment: “Secured decorations/structures may be permitted as long as a loved one maintains the area around it. This includes keeping the grass trimmed at least one foot from the obstacle(s), allowing the maintenance equipment to move freely without having to maneuver or come to a complete stop.”

Council members added their apologies for any hurt caused and thanked the group for attending and proposing a solution. Further discussion and action will take place at a future meeting.

The meeting on April 23 was also preceded by a public hearing at which Steve Nelson of Century West Engineering was present to answer any questions the public might have concerning roadway repairs and water mainline replacement work to take place this summer.

Grants to supply water lines under streets where roadways are being torn up have been awarded for Dobson Road and Birch Street this year. Next year, Fairway and 6th, 4th and 8th Avenues will be addressed.

Phase 1 of the project began last year with the replacement of water lines and repaving of parts of Division Street, Alder Street and the alley connecting the two that runs behind the First Avenue businesses from Odessa Drug at the west end to The Odessa Record at the east end.

The council approved that the engineers proceed to apply for a Community Dev. Block Grant to continue the project into additional phases.

Public works director Rod Webster in thinking about issues related to his street repair budget is proposing an asphalt overlay on parts of Marjorie at 2nd Ave. E. and where 5th Ave. connects on 2nd street. He plans to meet with the streets committee for planning and approval and to contact companies to get price quotes for asphalt. Prices are currently at a record low, so Webster wants any needed asphalt work to be done now before prices climb again.

There was discussion of the recent appearance of farm machinery and implements on residential streets within the town limits and storage of disabled appliances, old mattresses and the like in people’s yards. Council members said ordinances currently in place did not adequately address all of the issues involved. Council members referred the issue to a committee to study and return with more information on how other communities address such problems.

Fire chief Don Strebeck reported that open burning now closed. The burn ban is in effect until further notice.

Police chief Tom Clark said April 28 has been designated as National Prescription Take-back Day. Drugs can be dropped off at the police station on First Avenue.

Public works director Webster expressed dismay at the amount of time it takes to get problem lawns mowed. First letters must be sent to property owners, followed by a wait for responses, then a second letter if there is no response. All the while, the grass keeps growing and getting harder to manage. The issue was tabled for further discussion.


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