Roscoe Township brings its cemetery management into the 21st century cloud

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Mary Ryan demonstrates old-style cemetery management, with the help of Roscoe Township Trustee Chuck Gilbert

At its September 8 meeting, the R0scoe Township Board approved a major upgrade to its cemetery management software to allow them to keep better track of more details. Until now, administrative assistant Mary Ryan has had to resort of coloring in paper maps to indicate who owns which plot. Support for the previous desktop version ended in 2008, but software maker Ramaker & Associates, creator of CIMS (Cemetery Information Management System), made a special upgrade so it could be installed on a Township laptop. 

Still, Ryan said, "Every time I go away for a couple of days, I have to haul a laptop with me. This is the only place where this information is available." In the new version, because information will be stored (securely) in the internet cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere.

Chris Doering, an IT consultant for Rockton Township who also serves as their cemetery sexton, helped to demonstrate and explain the new CIMS software, which Rockton has been using for about five years. He said it helps him track work orders, such as a cemetery road  or a gravestone that needs to be repaired. Clicking on a lot shows information on burial, marker, ownership, and name. It even has a spot for photos of markers, which Ryan been collecting in her down time and adding to Find a Grave for lack of another solution, until now.

The GPS mapping capabilities was what got the Township staff excited. The newest cemetery, Willowbrook, has a capacity of 7,222. Right now it is still mostly unused, but when it gets fuller, Ryan said, "it would be a nightmare to keep track of" if she had to depend on the old software. She added that Roscoe Cemetery is 90% sold, and Pinnacle Hill is 65% sold.

Trustee Chuck Gilbert moved that the Township purchase the software for all three cemeteries for $23,000 plus $950 a year.  The cemetery committee has a $37,000 annual budget, and doesn't use all of it. 

In other news, Township Supervisor Bob Nowicki announced a solution to the problem of baseballs from Cross Park ending up in neighboring yards. He said the problematic ball field would be locked. The other, larger field will still be available.

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