County OKs pauper burial funds

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The Madison County Commissioners’ Court discussed changes to its indigent burial policy on Monday after approving funds for the cremation of a body.

Billy Walters of Madisonville Funeral Home said the home picked up a person on Feb. 19, and that no arrangements have been made.

Efforts by personnel at the home and the Sheriff’s Office to locate any relatives were fruitless, he said.

“I know there’s a law where counties are supposed to assist in (cases like this), so I came here,” Walters said.

County Judge C.E. McDaniel said the ordinance regarding “deceased paupers,” passed in 2009, states that the county will provide funds for disposing of remains, after the body has been offered to the Texas State Anatomical Board to be used in medical training.

However, there wasn’t a specific period of time listed in the ordinance to wait for a reply, McDaniel said.

Commissioner Sam Cole said the funeral home needed to be compensated for storing the body.

He also said there needed to be a time limit on keeping the remains.

Commissioner Phillip Grisham added that there needed to be a reasonable time limit on waiting to hear from the TSAB — at least two weeks.

The county unanimously approved $500 for the cremation of the body.

Commissioners also considered amending the ordinance regarding indigent burial.

McDaniel said one possibility was to eliminate offering the body to the TSAB, but leave in the search for family members.

After a discussion about time frames, the court voted to table amending the ordinance until it was determined whether a time limit could be added.

In other business, the county:

•tabled a minor plat request by Weldon Alders to create three parcels of land until questions about soil erosion can be answered;

•proclaimed April as Confederate History Month;

•proclaimed April as Child Abuse Awareness Month;

•approved a $3,000 expenditure of hotel/motel tax funds for advertising for the Texas Mushroom Festival;

•approved a bid of $1,800 per year from Margie Robinson for lawn maintenance at the courthouse and county library grounds;

•approved a family grant exception to county subdivision rules for Jeff and Katheryn Farris at their property on Highway 21;

•approved the county’s sponsorship for a North Zulch grant request for Community Development block grant funds; and

•tabled action on a courthouse security system.

At a special meeting on March 15, the commissioners’ court approved an extension of a disaster declaration.

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