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Cemetery may get financial help

WORTHINGTON -- In a relatively short agenda Tuesday, Nobles County commissioners authorized a $5,000 appropriation to the Worthington Cemetery Association, contingent upon the city of Worthington doing the same to help out the financially strappe...

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WORTHINGTON - In a relatively short agenda Tuesday, Nobles County commissioners authorized a $5,000 appropriation to the Worthington Cemetery Association, contingent upon the city of Worthington doing the same to help out the financially strapped cemetery.

Association member Tom Ahlberg appeared before commissioners with a request for $10,000 from each entity this year. The county board opted to split the donation - half now, and half later this year if the cemetery association needs it. Both payments would be contingent on the city making the same contributions.

Ahlberg said the appropriations will allow the association to pay its bills.

“We have nothing left,” Ahlberg said, adding that board members dipped into their own pockets to pay last month’s bills.

The association is only allowed to use the interest generated from the $277,000 in its perpetual care fund, and low interest rates resulted in the association dipping into its savings until nothing was left.

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“We really appreciate the support from the county and the city,” Ahlberg said. “With your help, we can continue to move forward.”

The association relies on income from burials, the sale of lots and donations from families who own lots in the 21-acre cemetery. Since The Globe published a story about the cemetery’s financial problems last week, Ahlberg said more donations have been received.

“Donations do come in and they’ve been very good,” Ahlberg said. “We just run into shortfalls.”

If the association chooses to disband, the cemetery’s ownership would default to either the city of Worthington or Nobles County, according to state statute.

If that day comes, Commissioner Gene Metz said he hopes the city and the county can work 50-50 until an attorney or judge can determine ownership. There’s reason for dispute because the statute says ownership would go to the city or county in which the cemetery is located. Worthington Cemetery is located within the city limits, and the city is within the county.

Ahlberg was asked to return to the county board later this summer to make an appropriations request for 2019 to be considered during the budget process.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a payment of $57,380.42 to Gag Sheet Metal for work completed on the Prairie Justice Center roof.
  • Rescinded action taken earlier this month on the findings and final order for the County Ditch 11 petition for improvements, then approved the findings and final order with notation that the petitioner is responsible for the costs related to the engineering study, attorney fees and public hearings. As a result of Tuesday’s action, this will reset the clock for the petitioner’s right to appeal the decision within 30 days.
  • Authorized a request for proposals for landscaping and ADA improvements at the 10th Street entrance to the Nobles County Government Center. The project includes new signage for the building.
  • Authorized a request for proposals for a new air handler unit for the Government Center. This will be funded with dollars remaining from the 2017 capital improvement bond.
  • Awarded a contract to Busse Plumbing & Heating for replacement of a small boiler in the Public Works department for $20,345.
  • Approved a change order on the foundation water intrusion project at the Government Center at a cost of $4,866. Ideal Landscape is doing the work.
  • Approved 2018 solid waste and recycling hauling permits to contractors who operate in Nobles County.
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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