RED SPRINGS — A burial plot in the newly-cleared section of Alloway Cemetery will come with more restrictions — and a higher price tag, the Red Springs Board of Commissioners decided at its Tuesday meeting.
The new Alloway Cemetery ordinance requires that grave markers be 1 inch or less in an effort to curb maintenance costs incurred by the town.
“That way you can mow right over the top of them,” Mayor John McNeill said, “and we will significantly cut down on our maintenance costs. … We are currently paying about $40,000 a year to keep the cemetery up, and the reason for that is in the old section, you can’t use a lawnmower. You basically have to use a weed eater because of all the trees, shrubs, markers, as well as headstones.”
The ordinance prevents the planting of trees, shrubs or flowers, and instructs groundskeepers to remove flowers that are older than 1 month.
The fees for burial plots for both in- and out-of-town residents have been increased by $100. The new fee for in-town residents for one plot is $400; for two, $700; for three, $1,000; for four, $1,300; and for eight, $2,500. For out-of-towners, the fees are $250 more per space. All plot purchases have an additional $100 fee attached for marking corners.
The cemetery is currently running out of room, with only two spots left in a mausoleum. Additional land is being readied for more burial plots and cremation burial sites, and for a columbarium, which will house niches for cremated remains at a cost of $1,200 for in-town residents and $1,600 for out-of-town residents.
The price for cremation burial sites will be $200 per site for in-town residents. Out-of-town residents will pay $100 more.
Also on Tuesday, the board announced that the town’s Farmers Market would open on April 5, although a shelter or platform will not be in place until next year, according to Juan Pesine, a member of the Farmers Market Committee. The market will be located near the railroad tracks on West Fourth Avenue, between Vance and Williams streets, and will be open to sellers of crafts and produce on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We already have farmers inquiring if they can sell their produce there,” Town Manager James Bennett said.
The board discussed at length modifying the town’s yard and sidewalk sale ordinance to dissuade people from selling items on the side of the road and in parking lots, but no action was taken. Fees to sell at the farmer’s market have not yet been set.
The board on Tuesday also lowered the rental fees for the town’s Community Building to a range of $20 to $150 per day, depending on the size of the room and if the rental falls on a weekend or weekday. Previous rental fees ranged from $27 to $420 per day.
The clean-up and deposit fee was also lowered from $250 to $125.
In other action on Monday, the board:
— Instructed Bennett to compile information comparing their process for billing utilities with those used by other municipalities.
The town currently charges a $10 late fee on the 19th of each month. After the 26th of the month, a “disconnect list” is created, but a $25 “disconnect” fee is only charged to those whose service has physically been disconnected. The board discussed at length the option to charge everyone on the disconnect list a $25 fee, even if their service has not been disconnected, but could not reach a consensus.
— Approved a budget amendment for additional rent that will be collected from Dayco Products LLC at the Sanfatex building totaling $22,750 for eight months. The board also authorized Bennett to seek a refinancing agreement for the Sanfatex building, which would lower the monthly payment the town pays.
— Authorized Bennett to apply for a loan that would repay the town the $55,000 it spent to purchase land for a recreation complex from Robert and Lanette Locklear of Pembroke. The loan payments would be less than the town’s previous rental agreement of $5,000 a year.
— Approved about $700 in billing releases. Most of the releases were retractions of late fees on payments the town did not receive because of mailing errors.
— Recognized Andrea Melton, a student at Red Springs High, as the town’s student of the month.
— Heard from Johnny Robertson, co-chair of the town’s Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program, who asked the commissioners to be more involved in the STEP process.
“The contract is between the rural center and the town,” he said. “Not the rural center and a bunch of citizens.”
— Approved the town’s Powell Bill street status for 2013. The Powell Bill provides for local towns to use money the state collects through the gasoline tax for street maintenance.
— Authorized Bennett to negotiate a contract with McGill and Associates, an engineering firm, that will replace filters at the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
— Reappointed Alton McNeill to the ABC Board, and appointed C.G. Arrington in place of his father, Garland Arrington, who declined reappointment because of health issues.
— Appointed Red Springs Police Chief Ronnie Patterson to serve on the Robeson County Transportation Committee.
Abbi Overfelt works for Civitas Media as editor of The Red Springs Citizen and The St. Pauls Review.