County increases funeral assistance

May 24—Union County Board of Supervisors Monday approved an increase to the funeral assistance fund after meeting with Creston funeral homes.

The Supervisors increased the amount from $1,000 to $1,500. Meeting with Joe Powers from Powers via telephone he had suggested the $1,500 amount knowing how rising costs and inflation have had impacts. Union County Auditor Sandy Hysell said the burial expense hadn't been increased since 2001.

Supervisor Dennis Brown was in favor of increasing the amount as supervisors increased the amount paid to the county medical examiners for their work.

The new burial/cremation rate will begin July 1 with the fiscal year 2024. If a Union County resident is cremated in another location, Union County will pay up to $1,500.

In January 2020 Supervisors met with Powers and Bruce Pearson from Pearson Family Funeral and Cremation from Creston for the same issue. Not everyone who dies in Union County has funds to pay for services. Union County had been paying up to $1,000 for cremation expenses if the person had been a county resident for at least a year and using an assistance program. Relatives were encouraged to provide the assistance information.

In 2020, Powers and Pearson said cremations cost between $3,000 to $5,000. With the county paying $1,000, the funeral homes were absorbing the remaining cost.

In fiscal year 2021 the county paid burial expenses for nine people; in fiscal year 2012, nine and so far in fiscal year 2023, the county has paid for five.

In other county news...

Supervisors opened one bid for tree removal on the county farm. Young Fencing from Shannon City bid $2,100 to cut and remove unwanted trees.

Union County Road Superintendent Al Hysell said said the work should be started soon and would likely take at least one day.

Supervisors approved a bid from Stalker Chevrolet Buick GMC for a new Chevrolet half-ton pickup. for incoming new Engineer Christian Boehmer. Three bids were received, all within $1,000. Stalker did not have the lowest bid at $52,725, but the truck would be available much sooner than the six to eight months noted in the other bids.

A $18,995 bid for a flatbed car trailer from Johnson Trailer Sales was approved. The board approved making the purchase at a cost of $18,995.