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City of Plattsmouth defends removing items from cemetery, some still not happy

Posted at 10:27 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 23:27:02-04

PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (KMTV) — The city of Plattsmouth is defending themselves by pointing to a warning sign outside the cemetery that says all ground decorations must be removed by April 1st.

They also said the sign was posted long enough that residents had plenty of time to pick up precious items.

"In years past, we've been very lenient, very laxed, in enforcing that. Last year in particular we took a lot of criticism,” says Erv Portis, Plattsmouth city administrator.

City administrator of Plattsmouth Erv Portis says Oak Hill Cemetery didn't look good the past few years and workers were getting injured from glass and other material getting caught in weed trimmers.

So he told his crew to begin enforcing their longstanding policy of removing items off the ground by April 1st.

"In order to do the job right and be responsible to our employees in creating a safe work environment, we got to do it,” says Portis.

"People are not happy,” says Jamie Lesley, who’s daughter is buried at the cemetery.

"They didn't even take into consideration that people haven't been out here because this winter was bad, I didn't know by April 1st we had to have all this stuff removed. And the stuff has been there for 17 years, it's never been removed," says Tami Gibson, who’s son is buried there.

Gibson wishes something would have at least been posted to social media.

"Fair criticism, I'll own that,” says Portis.

Others weren't pleased about where some of the items ended up, including a dumpster in town.

"I stopped and pulled in and they were pulling out all the stuff that wasn't put back there out of the city dumpster, it was completely full of stuff,” says Gibson.

Portis said over the phone they usually just throw old flowers in that trash and there was "no intention" to throw items away and it was a mistake they ended up there.

"I'm upset for the total lack of disregard for anybody's's just, it's wrong. And I don't see how anybody with any kind of morality doesn't see how this is wrong,” says Lesley.

Jamie Lesley, along with others in town have posted complaints and a petition online, they say they want to see Portis go and want the mayor to take action.

"He needs to do his job and remove Portis from office,” says Lesley.

The next city council meeting is a week from tonight and several people told us they plan to be there to formally request Portis's removal.