Opp appoints new cemetery authority for cleanup

Published 1:22 am Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Earlier this month, the Opp City Council voted to rectify an ongoing issue with three abandoned cemeteries.

At Monday night’s council meeting, the council took one more step forward in making that a reality.

They appointed H.D. Edgar, Wayne Jones and William Hines to the newly formed cemetery rehabilitation authority.

These three will serve until 2020.

In accordance with ordinance the council passed on July 3, the authority will oversee the maintenance of the cemeteries.

The cemeteries for which the authority will be responsible are Hardin Street Cemetery, Hickory Grove and Cool Springs.

The issue of cleanup of the cemeteries has been ongoing for nearly five years.

Former Mayor John Bartholomew halted the city’s cleanup efforts of the private cemeteries after consulting with the Alabama attorney general’s office.

It had long been a practice of the city of Opp ot maintain those cemeteries.

Since January, a group of concerned residents had asked the council to figure out a solution.

The worked with attorney David Baker to find out resolution.

Opp resident Vivian Stewart attended the meeting Monday night and wanted to know more about how the board would operate.

Mayor Becky Bracke said that the authority would be responsible for soliciting donations or other funds.

Bracke said the council would decide what the board could pay for the upkeep.

“We need clubs to donate to the cemetery,” she said. “The board won’t be responsible physically or fiscally. They will just come up with ways to fundraise.”

Bracke said they may have to have the lawn maintenance of the cemeteries bid.

Councilman Gary Strickland said that Mr. Jones already raises money for Cool Springs.

City Clerk Connie Smith said the current city cemetery mowing contract is eligible for renewal for up to three years.