Surrey Board hears cemetery complaints

June 16, 2016

Some headstones have been vandalized in the past at the Surrey Township Cemetery and some are deteriorating badly. Unfortunately the township is not responsible for upkeep and repair of the gravesites and headstones.

Some headstones have been vandalized in the past at the Surrey Township Cemetery and some are deteriorating badly. Unfortunately the township is not responsible for upkeep and repair of the gravesites and headstones.

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The Surrey Township Board fielded some complaints about the condition of the older part of the Surrey Township Cemetery at their 6-17-16 Surrey Twp Cemetery 2meeting Tuesday evening.

Rita Vance and her mother Joy Fuller were at the meeting to voice their concerns that the older part of the cemetery near the front where a family member is buried is in poor condition. “We had permission to plant a tree by a grave from the board (in 1989),” Vance said. It was topped and then cut down. It’s gone now.” She said a lilac bush was also cut down. “The older graves in the front of the cemetery are not being taken care of,” they said.

They said some headstones were broken, there was little grass there and they wondered if something could be done.
Township Clerk Glenna Bradbury responded saying the maintenance people were not responsible for the headstones. Supervisor Russ Hamilton added, “There has been some vandalism there, but the headstones and graves belong to the people that own the plots.”

He added that a lot of trees in the cemetery have been removed because they were diseased and there are still more that need to be removed.

Bradbury added, “We do the best we can to keep it nice there. There’s no money for grass seed. We did have a group that was interested in repairing the headstones at one time.”
She continued, “I get compliments all of the time on the cemetery. I think it looks really nice. The older stones are very delicate and crumble easily, but the headstones are the responsibility of the owners.”

Township Treasurer Esther Pitchford said the board could try and put more in the budget for the cemetery for grounds maintenance.

Surrey Township Clerk Glenna Bradbury explains the responsibilities of the township at the cemetery and the lack of funds for additional grounds work to Rita Vance and her mother Joy Fuller.

Surrey Township Clerk Glenna Bradbury explains the responsibilities of the township at the cemetery and the lack of funds for additional grounds work to Rita Vance and her mother Joy Fuller.

Evaluation of the Landfill groundwater was another issue that came before the board Tuesday. Zoning Administrator Rod Williams, who is responsible for checking the monitoring equipment at the landfill, asked the board to approve a Gas Detector Kit for $1,005.00. He also asked the board to approve $5,750 to have Environmental Resource Management do a groundwater evaluation and prepare a report for the Department of Environmental Quality.

The board approved both expenditures unanimously.

Other business at the township meeting included:
*A zoning report from Williams.
*A report from Fire Chief Dave Williams.
*Approval for a $4,950 software update for the fire department’s 15-year-old outdated program.
*Approval of the $16,908.75 purchase of five portable radios, to come from next years’ budget to improved communication with Central Dispatch and Isabella County.
*A vote to waive the purchase of foreclosed properties in the township.
*Approved bills payable totaling $37,714.34.

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