Alva Cemetery Board is now legal


December 22, 2023

The Alva Cemetery Board once had only three appointed members. When board members realized that any two of them attending a social gathering or even having a conversation could be considered an open meeting violation, they asked the city council to increase their number to five. That increase occurred, but no one thought to update the city code.

When Stephen Ford was hired as the city business manager, he said he intended to familiarize himself with the city ordinances. In doing so, he discovered this and other mistakes. The current cemetery ordinance said the board would consist of three appointed members. Ford also noted that there was no provision for electing officers. This could lead to a situation where someone had a “lock” on the chairmanship. He had the city attorney draw up an amendment to bring the cemetery board more in line with other city boards.

At their regular meeting Monday night, the Alva City Council voted to update the cemetery board ordinance. Now the board of trustees will consist of five members legally. Members, who receive no compensation, will serve for a term of three years with terms beginning on July 1. Members of the board are selected by the mayor and city council. The board is also directed to choose one member as chairman and one as secretary annually. The board is to meet at least quarterly.

Other Ordinances Corrected

Two other ordinances amended by the city council Monday fixed more serious illegalities. These ordinances addressed the city’s plans to create a stabilization (rainy day) fund and a capital reserve fund. One was passed in 2015 and the other in 2017.

Ford told the city council that each of these listed the various funds of the city as sources for money to be put into these special accounts. However, some of those funds are categorized as “restricted.” By state law, the city cannot draw money from these funds for such uses.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2023-004, amending Article VI Stabilization Reserved Fund Sections 20-200 through 20-203. The amendment will remove any wording listing the Airport Fund, the Cemetery Fund and the Alva Economic Development Fund.

The council also voted to approve Ordinance 2023-005, an amendment to Article VI. – Capital Reserve Fund Sections 20-300 through 20-303. This amendment also removes any reference to the Airport Fund, Cemetery Fund and Alva Economic Development Fund.

Another Ordinance Update

One other amendment updated the city code to bring it in line with state statutes. Back in May 2022, the state raised the amount required for sealed bids to $100,000. Previously the amount was $50,000. The city did not update their ordinances to reflect this change.

Ford said if this update had been made, the city could have proceeded more quickly on the Locust Street project. Replacing the waterline and moving lines out from under the street cost less than $100,000 but was over $50,000. The city had to go through the bid process which extended the wait time to get started.

Councilmembers unanimously approved the update to the ordinance. Although the limit has been raised to $100,000, this does not mean the city can’t take bids on smaller projects. They can still opt to do so. But city projects under $100,000 now can skip the bid process with quotes from contractors if the city wants to proceed that way.


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