Norton formalizes cemetery regulation, sets limits on gas motors on reservoir

Mike Still • Sep 4, 2019 at 5:30 PM

NORTON — The city council on Tuesday formalized the city’s role in overseeing Highland Cemetery.

The council voted 5-0 to adopt an ordinance that specifies the city can maintain and operate the approximately 124-year-old cemetery on the north side of town.

The ordinance also authorizes the city manager to set rules and regulations for matters such as descriptions of burial spaces, the burial of indigent persons, cremation procedures and other matters related to the cemetery.

City Manager Fred Ramey said the cemetery was transferred to municipal ownership in 1955 by the Fleming Land Corp. and the city has handled maintenance and upkeep since then.

While the new ordinance — which goes into effect Oct. 3 — allows the council to set fees for lots, burial spaces, internment services, maintenance and operation, Ramey said the number of available spaces has dwindled over the past 64 years.

The council also approved an ordinance to prohibit petroleum products and gasoline-powered engines or watercraft in the city’s reservoir. The ordinance does, however, allow government and emergency service agencies and the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to operate such craft in the reservoir.

The council, during discussion of the ordinance in August, had heard concerns about contamination of the reservoir — Norton’s primary water supply — as well as various questions from people asking about gasoline engine use there.

The reservoir ordinance also takes effect Oct. 3.

In other business, the council also approved a resolution allowing application for USDA Rural Development grant funds to purchase two emergency vehicles. Ramey told city officials that the process is competitive and might not result in a grant.

The council also approved a resolution recognizing September as Library Sign-Up Month after a presentation from Lonesome Pine Regional Library Director Julie Short about the library’s programs and school support activities.

Council members also voted to commit to $1,000 of a $4,000 fundraising quote by high school football supporters to buy an inflatable helmet for the John I. Burton High School football team to run onto the field before games.

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