Mono County almost trips over headstone
Mono County Supervisor Fred Stump calls it, “The greatest example of government inefficiency at a county level.”
Mono County cemeteries have been left to grow weeds and gates are locked all-day, forcing little old ladies to climb over chain link fences to place flowers on tombstones. Supervisors heard an update on a cemetery ordinance at a special meeting on Wednesday, February 15 and are trying to sort out what to do.
Cemeteries in Mono County are governed by codes adopted in 1964 that have minimal regulations for fees, policies or procedures. The last movement was in 1988 when supervisors approved a fee at Morrison; $465 for a five-foot by ten-foot plot. In 2000, the county began working on a new ordinance for the cemeteries but the document has been in limbo ever since. In 2007, Mono County Public Works put out a moratorium on plot reservations at the Mono Lake and Bridgeport cemeteries, working on a first-come, first-served basis.
Cemetery policies have been brought before respective Regional Planning Advisory Committees (RPAC), in Bridgeport and Mono Basin, but the policies get lost in the shuffle.
“We’ve been working on this issue for 17 years and it just goes around and round, and nothing ever comes of it,” Stump said. He said that the layers of bureaucracy, such as the RPAC, are holding up progress and wanted something done now.
Stump was clearly frustrated by the glacial pace of the issue and said he didn’t want the policies to go through another round of meetings and considerations, “No we need to approve and move ahead.”
He added it wouldn’t take an ordinance, committee or vote to ask Public Works to whack the weeds at the cemeteries.
Paul Berdino of Crowley Lake told the Supervisors that following a tragedy in 2000, he had to find spaces for many loved ones. He said he found Morrison Cemetery in disrepair; full of weeds and trash, the gate was locked. He said one day at the cemetery, there was an elderly woman trying to figure out how she was going to jump the fence and locked gate at Morrison. Another time he found a priest digging a grave, because no one else could be found to do it.