Linn Aldermen agree to pay for St. George Catholic Church Cemetery property survey

By Theresa Brandt, Staff Writer
Posted 4/10/24

Linn Aldermen agreed March 24 to pay for a property survey of the St. George Catholic Church Cemetery at the request of the cemetery board to determine property lines.

The St George Cemetery …

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Linn Aldermen agree to pay for St. George Catholic Church Cemetery property survey


Linn Aldermen agreed March 24 to pay for a property survey of the St. George Catholic Church Cemetery at the request of the cemetery board to determine property lines.

The St George Cemetery Board will cover legal expenses and has already retained a real estate attorney. Alderman Steve Boeckmann and Alderman Dustin Flann volunteered to be the liaisons for the city and work with St. George Cemetery Board President Pat Muenks.

Alderman Bill Turner asked how much Muenks thought the survey would cost and Muenks was unsure but thought that the survey may be complicated as the cemetery consists of three properties that were donated years ago.

“There are three different legal descriptions of that land,” Muenks explained. “I don’t want to say it is a surveyor’s nightmare, but it involves deliberate effort to define those.”

Muenks went on to explain that the property has been defined by default for a long time and the St. George Cemetery board that he represents would like to determine where the property lines are and how it affects the goals of the city and the cemetery.

City Clerk Carrie Grellner will call and get estimates for the survey.

“The fact is that we are running out of plots, and we are looking at future development of the cemetery,” Muenks said. “As we consider that, we want to have an understanding of where these property boundaries are so as we sit down with cemetery designers we know exactly where the property lines terminate so we can utilize the land we have.”

Muenks went on to explain that the cemetery is land locked.

“We estimate we will run out of existing cemetery plots for the area that is currently in use in about five to six years,” Muenks explained. “It is time for us to begin to move forward with a plan.”

The St. George Catholic Church owns additional acreage that is not developed but connected to the developed part of the cemetery. The cemetery was created when three portions of land were originally donated to the bishops of the Jefferson City Catholic Diocese. The initial track which makes up the bulk of the cemetery was donated by Louis and Johannes Voss on March 13, 1921. On Oct. 31, 1940, an additional parcel was donated by H. J. and Mary Fick which made up the primary entrance to the cemetery off of Highway 50 and the third portion was donated on Nov. 12, 1945, by Martin and Mary Nilges that makes up the southern border which is now the city maintance sheds.

Muenks explained that the St. George Cemetery board has hired a professional cemetery design company to help with improvements of the current cemetery and help in developing the new part of the cemetery.

“From the land that we have, there is a focal point (a statue) and that focal point can serve as an elbow and connect the new area,” Muenks explained.

Muenks explained that the cemetery’s two entrances are utilized equally and help with the traffic pattern on days when there are interments.

“We have to maintain the flexibility of having these two exits and entrances depending on where the person is being buried,” Muenks said. “As we look at future designs it is important that we define both entrances and that we focus on designing appealing entrances to the cemetery.”

Muenks said that until he sat down to discuss the cemetery expansion with cemetery design professionals, he had never considered that a cemetery could be an enhancement for the city instead of just a place to bury dead bodies.

“If you take the perspective that it is a memorial park and that death is a part of life, then we can approach it as not a place to be put on the back shelf but that it is a four-and-a-half acre plot of land that is visited by lots of people in the city so why not focus on the design that enhances the city?” Muenks asked. “The same way in which we approach how parks enhance cities. We should approach the cemetery the same way.”

The St. George Cemetery board would like to have a physical buffer between the city maintenance sheds and the cemetery to help visitors focus on the cemetery and landscape features instead of the back side to the maintenance sheds.  Muenks admitted that there is not a lot of space to do that.

Muenks presented a series of slides showing the deteriorating fence of the city’s maintenance yard. The fence has bracing placed on the cemetery side to keep it upright.

“The fence is not straight,” Muenks said.

The St. George Cemetery board would like to adjust this property line between the city maintenance sheds and the cemetery so that they can put in a green space buffer between the two properties. The board is also concerned about water drainage issues.

“There is water that sheds off of the city property and collects at that point and we have no real way to manage or remove that water, so it stays in a puddle there,” Muenks explained.

This is the area near the cemetery entrance off U.S. 50.

Water drainage is a problem in other parts of the cemetery as well.

“There is a grate that takes some of the water off the city maintenance yard and diverts it along the fence about 30 feet, and tries to manage the storm water,” Muenks explained. “There is quite a bit of storm water that does come across because you are capturing everything off the Dollar Tree lot and flows out from the retention lot and everything that comes off of the building, it all comes down around the corner. It does result in a lot of erosion. I don’t know what it looks like on the city side but all of that contributes to an unsightly entrance for the cemetery.”

Muenks explained that there was a box drain that collects water and drains it under 12th Street. The cemetery board would like to see the open ditch on the side of 12th street eliminated. They would also like to make sure that the city has clear ownership of 12th Street and the necessary right-of-way.

Turner asked who would be responsible for the expenses to make the requested changes.

“The diocese would be responsible for the cemetery and will concern itself with any improvements that are on the city’s property,” Muenks said. “What we are asking is for the areas that lie within the city’s control and such improvements that impact the diversion of water and how the water is handled and managed and directed, the city would have that expense.”

Turner asked if there were any ideas of what that expense would be and Muenks did not have an estimate.

Muenks did point out that at this time the cemetery board was only requesting that the city pay for the land survey.

“The chancellor of the Jefferson City Diocese does not move swiftly,” Muenks said. “There is plenty of time to evaluate the expenses.”

Aldermen passed Ordinance No. 2024-003 which authorized Mayor Dwight Massey to enter into a contract with All Clear Pumping and Sewer to complete the lead service line inventory project as directed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Bartlett and West are waiting for the asphalt plant to open for the season so that they can finish the driveway repair which is the final item on the punch list to finish the Jaegers Wastewater Regionalization Project.   The city is hoping that will be completed next week. The deadline for the work to be completed was extended to May 31.

Bartlett and West also reported that All Clear Sewer has finished camera-ing the sewer line for the Lee Mar Hills Regionalization Project. The survey for the gravity main for that project has been started and they have begun the environmental work for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Bartlett and West is hoping to start the preliminary design work on the Lee Mar Hills Regionalization project as soon as the surveys are complete. This project is currently on schedule.

• City Treasurer Janelle Jaegers presented the financial audit for the 2022-23 fiscal year in its completed version at the Board of Aldermen meeting. Massey noted that the audit had been due last year, and he and the aldermen would take some time to review all of the detail sand approve it at the next meeting.

• City Clerk Carrie Grellner noted that Chick-Fila had called the city and is working with the city and Osage County to complete paperwork so that they can bring the Chick Fila food truck to the area occasionally.

• The city’s Spring Clean-up is scheduled for May 10. Massey noted that if anyone has elderly neighbors who may need help with their properties to lend a hand if possible.

• T-ball registration and swim lesson sign-up have started. Christine Miller will oversee the swim lesson program at the Linn City Pool this summer.

• City Utilities Worker Aleks Rowinski reported that he and his crew have been working on completing the culverts and drop boxes on Lee Street as well as the sewer line for the bathrooms at the Linn City Park. The UV lights were expected to be turned on April 1 and in between time they are working on fixing potholes.

• Aldermen approved outstanding bills for $259,133.73.

• The city of Linn has the following ending account balances in their governmental fund accounts: general ($830,940), pool (-$32,053.86), park ($115,931.31), police training ($3,010.58), general-improvement and equipment, (-$21,400), park-improvement and equipment (-$153,143.63), and pool-improvement and equipment ($1,948.24).

• The city of Linn has the following ending account balances in their business-type funds: water ($464,641.20), water replacement ($101,688.36), sewer ($504,593.12), sewer replacement ($2,804.81), and grants (-$144,438.13).

• The city holds nine certificates of deposit totaling $1,305,454.36.

• The city will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 30, at 5 p.m.