Death And Taxes Joined Together

Concern over rural cemeteries could lead to group with taxing authority. Several of the people currently involved in the care and maintenance of cemeteries in a section of Cass County are proposing the creation of the East Cass Pioneer Cemetery District. The group went before the county board of commissioners to explain their plans.

The creation of tax-levying cemetery districts are allowed under state law, said Allen Sutcliffe, the county assessor who is lending personal time to the effort. Signatures by 51% or more of the resident taxpayers in the geographical area will start the public hearing and official notification process in forming the district.

The proposed district would include 15 rural cemeteries in southeast Cass County, said the project summary. That is an area bounded by the county lines on the east and south, and by Agnew Road on the north and 84th Street on the west, said Sandra Allgeier who is involved in the care of Young Cemetery. The City of Plattsmouth would not be included. There is already a taxing authority for Oak Hill Cemetery.

The group is pledging a tax rate lower than any other taxing entity on your annual tax statement.

The petition drive is planned for May and if successful, the district will be established in June. The district will be governed by a board of directors.

If the district is created, it could be a model used to form other cemetery districts in the county. Cass County has 47 cemetery locations. The group had brought its initial concerns before the county board last summer. (For the previous report on challenges faced by volunteer caretakers and the dwindling resources of the cemeteries that do have some funds available, visit the Cassgram archives 8/3/11.)

---Unfortunately it is not just regular upkeep that is always needed. Sometimes it is repairs after an incident of vandalism. One such incident occurred last week.

Young Cemetery northeast of Murray was vandalized. This is the third time in the last two years the cemetery has been damaged. Last week, two large tombstones were marred and toppled, and the log cabin, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, was extensively damaged—all windows broken and the door torn from its jamb. (see photo at The Cass County Sheriff's Office is following up on several clues.

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