Quincy Cemetery District Election: Gottschalk vs. Hobbs
Jack Gottschalk was appointed to the Quincy Valley Cemetery Board of Commissioners this year when the late George Nutter passed away.
He seeks election to fill a two-year, unexpired term.
A U.S. Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War, Gottschalk has been a resident of the Quincy Valley for more than 45 years. He is retired after working for the local John Deere dealership for more than four decades.
Gottschalk said he has many family members and friends who are buried in the cemetery, so he believes he can relate to the public’s concerns and issues when it comes to the cemetery.
“For over 40 years, I have been involved in military funerals throughout Grant County,” he said. “During those years, I have seen many changes in many cemeteries, and I strongly believe that those improvements I have seen can be applied to the Quincy Valley Cemetery. I have the time and resources to devote to the cemetery.”
Gottschalk points to four pressing issues that board commissioners must deal with:
wThe restroom at the cemetery is currently nonfunctional because of root growth in the pipes, Gottschalk said. “For public convenience, we need to either repair or replace the current sewage system,” he said.
wFinances are always an issue; currently, Grant County Cemetery District No. 1 receives no funds from property taxes, Gottschalk said. “We need to maintain our budget in a manner that will sustain us for the next few years until taxes are again restored to the district or a special levy is held,” he said.
wOn the west side of the cemetery, the arborvitae are dying, so the dying ones need to be removed and replaced, Gottschalk said.
wMany of the markers are sinking and need to be leveled back up, Gottschalk added. “This will improve not only the looks of the cemetery but also help with the mowing and edging,” he said.
To help improve the Quincy Valley Cemetery, Gottschalk would like to continue with the board’s current plan of placing donated benches in various places within the cemetery grounds.
Gottschalk also would like to see “open communications between the cemetery district and the public.” This could be done by posting meetings in the local newspaper and placing signs on the grounds that display the rules for placing artificial flowers and other memorabilia on gravesites, he said.
As a commissioner, Gottschalk also would work with other local groups to help with the beautification of the cemetery. Well-placed shrubs would greatly improve the overall look of the cemetery, he said.The addition of fencing on the east side of the cemetery would help prevent vehicles from driving on the grounds, he added.
Gottschalk also would like to see a simple locator system within the cemetery to enable people to locate a grave easily.
“Lastly, I would maintain the dignity and integrity of this very sacred place,” Gottschalk said.
Kelly Hobbs, who is vying for a seat on the Quincy Valley Cemetery Board that is currently held by Jack Gottschalk, believes that although Grant County Cemetery District No. 1 is a publically held cemetery, it must be run as a business.
And that means paying close attention to revenue and expenses, Hobbs said.
She will rely on her professional experience to do so if elected to the three-member board.
“My background consists of 26 years in banking as a mortgage loan processor, loan officer and commercial banker,” she said. “I am experienced with creating a business plan and budget as well as revising bylaws and the implementation of these. For 20 years I also have been either a board member or clerk for our church and am experienced with Robert’s Rules of Orders and Minutes.”
In addressing her strengths, Hobbs said that she believes she is the best candidate for the seat because of her business background and community involvement.
“From a personal perspective, both sets of my grandparents, my parents, and numerous other family members are buried here at the Quincy Valley Cemetery,” she said. “I want to help create a cemetery that we all can be proud of. I’ve seen the outpouring of concern and I know this issue is as important to the community as it is to me.”
The most pressing issue facing the cemetery district at this time is the completion of its 2013 and 2014 state audits, which includes an audit of the taxing district’s financials and board minutes, Hobbs said.
“It is extremely past due and without having this up to date it is impossible to project what the next pressing issue is,” she said.
If elected, Hobbs would make sure all district records are up to date and that the cemetery is in compliance with the state. She would review the budget to see if revenue needs to be increased or if expenses could be decreased to comfortably accommodate basic expenses, which includes maintenance, she said.
She also would engage residents of Quincy as well as local businesses and service groups to gather their input on needed improvements.
And she would help with the development of a beautification project that would be sectioned into phases to project realistic costs and completion dates, she said.
As an individual, Hobbs added, she can only do so much. However, as a board commissioner, with the cooperation of the board and help from the community much can be accomplished, she said.
“Lastly, I would like to see more dialogue and open communication with our community partners,” Hobbs said. “This is the community’s cemetery and as such we should all have input into creating and maintaining a beautiful and tranquil cemetery for our loved ones.”
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org