Opp rectifies cemetery cleanup situation

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

After nearly five years of pleading from residents to get three abandoned cemeteries taken care of, the Opp City Council finally has come up with a way to make it happen legally.

The Opp Council, suspended its rules for voting, and passed an ordinance Monday night that established a cemetery rehabilitation authority. Members will be appointed by the mayor to serve four-year terms.

Opp Mayor Becky Bracke said the authority will oversee the maintenance of the cemeteries.

The main cemeteries of interest have been Hardin Street Cemetery, Hickory Grove and Cool Springs.

The authority has the power to accept the assistance from private citizens and donations for the private upkeep and restoration of cemeteries designated as neglected or abandoned.

They also have the ability to contract to provide services to restore, rehabilitate and maintain the above designated properties.

Since January, the city council has been working to undo a policy set by the previous administration of not cleaning the cemeteries.

Former Mayor John Bartholomew halted the cutting of those cemeteries after consulting with the state attorney general’s office, who said it was against the law for the city to cut private cemeteries, as it would be for them to cut a person’s private yard.

In years past, the city had cut the grass, but since the AG’s office said it was illegal, Bartholomew wouldn’t budge on cutting the cemeteries.