April 01, 2023

County to review funeral funding policy

Union County Supervisors and Auditor Sandy Hysell will further review the county’s burial assistance policy after meeting with funeral home owners on Monday.

The discussion originally was about improving communication between the funeral homes and the county with applications. Bruce Pearson of Pearson Family Funeral Service suggested some form of increased communication between the funeral home and the county after an eligible family has applied for the funds.

“That way we know they have done what they say they are going to do,” Pearson said.

Joe Powers of Powers Funeral Home was also in attendance.

Eligible families who have a death of a relative and are county residents can apply for $1,000 provided by the county to pay for funeral arrangements. Citing the increase in cost for funeral service expenses, Pearson suggested an increase to $2,000 per person, a raise from the $1,000 mark.

The county had traditionally budgeted $10,000 a year for the program. Hysell said some years the entire amount is used.

“I think it should go up some,” said Supervisor Ron Riley.

County officials and the funeral homes then discussed some of the stipulations in the policy, like what defines a resident. The policy states someone who has lived in the county for a matter of months is a resident.

Hysell said she knows of people who are considered a Union County resident, but moved into a living facility in another county; probably because that was the only facility available at the time, or can tend to the person’s specific needs. That person may then live in the other county for a significant amount of time creating a question of residency.

“That’s hard,” Hysell said. “We need to set up standards.”

Another concern was if the person living in another county is still eligible for the funds even though the family does not use a Union County funeral home for arrangements. Cremation is required to use the county’s funding.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.