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Dorr Township cemetery care in transition with new sexton

Tori Harris (left) and Ana Hedberg explain soil erosion prevention practices for the Allegan County Conservation District.

Care of Dorr Township cemeteries is transitioning from retiring longtime sexton Bob Merren to newcomer Kevin Boyles, but a complaint was read by Clerk Debbie Sewers at Thursday night’s Township Board meeting.

Pam Hennip wrote a letter asserting she tried to contact the sexton for a burial, but was unable to make any contact for too long. Eventually, the Monterey Township sexton had to be called in for the ceremony.

“This fiasco reflects poorly on the township,” Hennip wrote.

Sewers agreed, saying, “I don’t want to find out about this problem on the day of the funeral… It was on a day when there already was a lot of stress on the family.”

She suggested and was granted a change in policy in which the clerk’s office would be notified about needs for burial services sooner.

Boyles will be paid $700 for burials, $200 for cremations and 40 cents per square inch for foundations. Costs for cemetery plots are $200 for a single, $400 for a double for township residents and $600 for a single and $1,200 for a double for non-residents.

Sewers, Trustee John Tuinstra and a citizen of the township will set up a committee to review the current cemetery ordinance and make recommendations.

In other business at the Township Board’s meeting Thursday evening, the board:

• Agreed to 8 percent raises for the office manager, maintenance supervisor and cleaning person. None of the three had received any increases over the past three years. They now receive between $12 and $17.50 per hour.

• Approved the low bid of $10,556 from Godwin heating and Cooling for the purchase of two new air conditioners, despite getting only two bids rather than the minimum of three suggested by policy, as pointed out by .

Trustee Terri Rios said the purchase should be delayed for now because air conditioners aren’t needed in the winter. A Library Board representative noted the less than two units were working last July when the need was greatest and the price may not hold next summer.

The final vote for purchase was unanimous.

• Agreed to continue to hold meetings on the last Thursday of each month in 2018, except for March, when the annual budget will be approved.

• Was told by Treasurer Jim Martin the reconstruction of 144th Avenue is just about complete and paving is scheduled for next year as part of the special road millage fund, at an estimated cost of $400,000.

• Was given a report by Ana Hedberg and Tori Harris about the Allegan County Conservation District campaign to have farmers practice best sedimentation reduction practices on behalf of the Rabbit River watershed, most of which traverses Allegan County.

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