BENTON -- Scott County Jail inmates will assist in the cleanup of abandoned cemeteries in the county.
Scott County Commissioners discussed maintenance for the Forest Hill Memorial Gardens cemetery in Morley during their regular meeting Tuesday.
The cemetery and two others, Memorial Park Cemetery and Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sikeston, were all abandoned by their owner, Mike Graham and Associates of Houston, Texas.
Joel Evans, county developer, said that while Mike Green and Associates still own the properties the Attorney General is arranging their sale.
Evans said there is a local buyer who has expressed possible interest in the cemeteries.
In the meantime, the county will maintain Forest Hill Memorial Gardens and the city of Sikeston will provide maintenance for Memorial Park Cemetery and Garden of Memories Cemetery.
"They're opening the bids tomorrow on the cemeteries they're going to mow," Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said of Sikeston.
Ziegenhorn said commissioners have decided to use inmates from the Scott County Jail to clean up Forest Hill Memorial Gardens to prepare it for mowing.
They also agreed to offer to Sikeston the inmates' labor to help clean up the portion of the Garden of Memories Cemetery that lies within Scott County.
Also assisting with the efforts will be Sonny's Solid Waste. During Tuesday's County Commission meeting, Trace Glaus of Sonny's Solid Waste offered to provide the county with dumpsters at no cost to assist with the cemetery cleanup efforts.
"We would like to thank him as the County Commission," Ziegenhorn said.
In other business Tuesday, Ziegenhorn reported on information he obtained on using inmates from the Southeast Correction Center.
"They've been running the program for quite a while," he said. "We could get them. ... You contract, basically, with the state to use them."
The cost is $7.50 per day for each prisoner, according to Ziegenhorn. The prisoners are supplied with lunches by the Missouri Department of Corrections, he said.
Ziegenhorn said the security risk if even less than using county prisoners as those who participate in this program are close to being released. An armed guard is not needed, he said, just a supervisor.
Ziegenhorn said the county would probably be responsible for picking up the inmates and bringing them back to the SECC.
The county would also have to provide all the equipment and tools. "All they furnish you is the manpower," Ziegenhorn said.
Commissioners are slated to meet with SECC officials Thursday to discuss the program.