New county cemetery policy approved in concept/building policies out for public review and comment
YERINGTON — County officials have given a tentative stamp of approval to a revamped county cemetery management policy.
Directed to deal with administration concerns of the seven cemeteries, Public Works Director Chuck Swanson last week presented his recommended changes to Lyon County commissioners.
While indicating they still had some reservations with certain aspects of the proposal, commissioners did unanimously support Swanson’s plan in concept.
Swanson said he tried to establish a countywide system of accountability and consistency of operations while still respecting the individual characteristics of each area.
“There are a huge number of functions associated with running a cemetery. It is not a straightforward operation and is not an easy job once you get into the details,” he said. “The local boards, if they exist, will provide their priorities to us, and public works will provide the services. My priority is to satisfy the local boards.”
Changes to the existing operational procedures include placing responsibility for coordinating funeral arrangements on the funeral home involved. In the past, local cemetery managers handled the arrangements.
All money transactions will now be handled by county agencies. In Dayton and Silver City that will be Dayton Utilities; justice courts in Fernley and Smith Valley; Public Works in Yerington; and Human Services in Silver Springs.
“When it concerns the handling of money, it must come to a county office,” Swanson stressed.
All contract services will also be handled by Public Works, not by individual cemetery boards.
While grounds care will be a joint effort between local cemetery groundskeepers and Public Works, no mention was made of whether current groundskeepers will remain, or be replaced with a countywide maintenance person. Swanson is allowed one additional cemetery hiring in the current county budget.
Commissioners made few comments regarding Swanson’s proposed building management and building use policies, preferring to wait until they are presented to local town advisory boards for review.
Along with other board members, Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill indicated she had some concerns with portions of the draft documents, including the fees and fee structure being proposed.
“We are not approving these today. We are simply agreeing to put them out for public comment. These are not necessarily our ideas,” she stressed.
Many nonprofit groups currently use county facilities for free, with no mandated insurance requirements. The new proposal would require some to have up to $1 million in liability insurance and pay $40 an hour, or more for use of a room.
According to Swanson, “Right now, anything that is not part of official government should be charged.”