City cemetery ordinance revised

Published 4:10 am Saturday, April 21, 2018

Concerns about proper burials at city-owned cemeteries were again a focus of Tuesday’s meeting of the Bogalusa City Council.

The council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday, to amend its previously passed Ordinance No. 2511, which pertained to “underground burials; depth in the Bogalusa Cemetery and the Ponemah Cemetery.” Tuesday’s amendment clarifies several details from the original ordinance, which was passed on July 18, 2017.

Under the revised ordinance, all graves must have at least two feet of soil to cover the “outside container, whether a casket or vault.” The two-foot depth must be to level ground, and cannot include any additional mound height above the ground.

The revised ordinance also allows for punishments of up to $10,000 per incident for “willful” violations, and $1,000 for “non-willful” violations.

City officials said they would contact all funeral homes to instruct them about the revised ordinance. In addition, all private gravediggers must also conform to the revised rules.

The ordinance also gives the city the authority to authorize “on-site personnel” at the cemeteries, to ensure that the regulations are being followed.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved a resolution to authorize the mayor to obtain counsel to pursue damages the city has suffered as a result of the opioid crisis.
  • Approved a resolution to adopt LaMATS Procurement Services, which are at no cost to the city.
  • Tabled a resolution in support of Washington Parish Council Resolution No. 18-859, which pertains to the parish “entering into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Bogalusa to include negotiating a debt for Equity Arrangement over the Choctaw Landfill.”
  • Approved an ordinance to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption off-premises on Sundays, from noon until 10 p.m.
  • Heard from Fire Chief Richard Moody, who provided a summary of Bogalusa Fire Department incidents from March. Moody said the department responded to three structure fires, six grass fires, two vehicle fires, 11 motor vehicle accidents, 11 false alarms, 28 service calls, 70 medical calls, and three Hazmat/power line calls. It was a total of 134 calls in March.
  • Heard from Cheril Nathaniel, who spoke about the SCORE program. SCORE stands for “Service Corps of Retired Executives,” but currently serves to provide free business mentoring services to prospective and established small business owners in the United States.

Nathaniel said that there is a SCORE group that meets in Covington, and there are several Washington Parish residents who attend those meetings. She hopes to eventually establish a local SCORE group, and asked the city, or any other individuals or organizations, for any help with a possible meeting place.

All SCORE programs are free, Nathaniel said.