City Needs More Employees — By Tommy Purser

The City of Hazlehurst needs more employees in the Streets and Sanitation Department. That fact is obvious to anyone who takes a critical look at the downtown area where the city’s work force simply cannot keep up with all the work that needs to be done, especially in the summer when grass and weeds become overgrown on a regular basis.
I’ve gotten a few calls to my office recently from people complaining about the condition of the city-owned cemetery on the Lumber City Highway. So I took a ride out there Monday to take a look for myself.
I found that the grass had just recently been cut. I’m not sure if workers are planning to return to weed-eat around the graves but I hope so because there is much work left to be done.
Compare the condition of the city’s cemetery to the privately-owned Palms Memorial Gardens just down the road. It’s like night and day. Palms Memorial is always neat and clean, a dignified site for people to bury their loved ones.
One of the big differences in the two cemeteries is the fact that Palms has mostly flat or flush grave markers as opposed to the larger grave stones. The flat markers lend themselves to easier cemetery maintenance as mowers can cut over the markers without damaging them.
My father is buried in such a cemetery in Charlotte, N.C. And my mother is buried in a city-owned cemetery in Sylvania, where city workers regularly take care of the grounds.
When we visit the grave sites of the good wife’s family in Burke County, there, too the grounds are maintained well by members of the church that owns the cemetery. Occasionally we have to do a little grass trimming, but it’s not much work.
Which brings me to another thought about the city cemetery on the Lumber City Highway. If I had a loved one buried there, I think I’d make it a mission in life to see that my loved one’s grave site is kept free of weeds, overgrown grass, trash, etc. If the city can’t hire the workers necessary to maintain the cemetery in an appropriate manner, families, I think, should care enough to care for their loved ones’ graves to do it themselves.
I mentioned at City Hall some months back that the Streets and Sanitation Department needed one employee designated as the keeper of the downtown area of Hazlehurst. It should be a daily obligation for that employee to take stock of the downtown area and see to it that the necessary work gets done.
That same employee could also be designated to make daily visits to the cemetery to assess its condition. I assure you that employee would never be without work to do and he or she would have the power to make Hazlehurst’s citizens take pride in their downtown area and their cemetery.
That pride certainly isn’t there now.

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