Local Government

Adams County coroner to buy Golden crypt to store unclaimed cremation ashes

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 12, 2019 10:20 pm

QUINCY -- The unclaimed cremated remains of eight indigent people who died in Adams County will soon have a permanent resting place.

The Adams County Board on Tuesday night accepted an offer from the village of Golden to allow Adams County Coroner John Myers to buy a crypt inside the Golden Cemetery's mausoleum for $300.

Myers will use the vault to store the cremains of indigent individuals who have never been claimed by a relative or friend.

Myers said the crypt will serve as "a dignified and respectful place" where the cremains can be kept for eternity -- or until someone claims them.

"They don't belong in my office," Myers said. "That's not a dignified and respectful place."

Myers said he intends to move the cremains into the vault "as soon as we can." He said the transfer will be handled in a respectful manner.

"We're going to have a clergyman there for a short service," he said.

Myers was put in charge of the cremains when the County Board appointed him coroner last July after his predecessor, Jim Keller, was forced out of office in connection with official misconduct charges.

Myers initially had the cremains of 17 unclaimed indigent people in his office. But he whittled down the number to eight by making a concerted effort to find relatives of the deceased.

Myers said a list of the individuals will be posted outside the crypt, and the key to the vault will be maintained by the village of Golden, which owns and maintains the cemetery.

In other action Tuesday, the County Board approved some changes to the Adams County Ambulance System. One key move involved reducing the size of the Ambulance Board's membership to five people from the previous seven.

Reappointed to the board Tuesday night were County Board member Robert Reich, who will serve as chairman; Emily Hendrickson of Blessing Hospital; and Jeff Mayfield, whose nomination was put forward by the city of Quincy. Newly appointed were Tasha Hiland of Quincy Medical Group and Mike Mahair, president of State Street Bank.

Reich, Hendrickson and Mahair will serve three-year terms, while Hiland and Mayfield will serve two-year terms.

County Board Chairman Kent Snider said moving to a five-member board will make it easier for the board to achieve a quorum at its meetings and conduct business -- a mission that will include taking steps to keep the ambulance service's rising costs in line.

"It was time to redo the board and clean it up and move it forward," Snider said. "We wanted five people who have the time and understand the issues and are ready to roll up their sleeves and get the job done."

The revamped ambulance ordinance also notes that the Ambulance Board has the authority to request a tax levy of up to 25 cents per $100 assessed valuation -- a cap that was approved by Adams County voters in a 2002 referendum. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the ambulance service will impose the full tax, which has never exceeded 11 cents since the maximum was established.

"It's up to the County Board and the Finance Committee to tell them how much they can have," Snider said. "We watch that pretty closely."

John Simon, chief of the ambulance service, said he thinks the ambulance tax should only be raised "when it's necessary in order to maintain a service level that the public in Adams County needs and that they want."

The board also:

º Appropriated $140,000 to pay the county's share to resurface Highway 4 (East 1700th Street) for 2.15 miles.

º Appropriated $600,000 to improve the bridge carrying Highway 14 over McKee Creek.

º Reappointed Glenn Sanders to a six-year term on the Sheriff's Merit Commission.

º Issued a one-day liquor license to the Mustangs Football Boosters for a fundraiser April 6 at the Adams County Fairgrounds.