City to discuss funding vets cemetery tonight

December 3, 2013 • Local News

City councilors will hold a special meeting today to discuss funding water and electrical work to get a veterans cemetery off the ground at South Park Cemetery.

The meeting, to be held at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, is open to the public.

Councilors will decide whether or not to pay for the initial maintenance costs on a small section of a donated site next to the cemetery.

The city’s Finance Committee will meet at 8 a.m. Wednesday to vote on the proposal first. If approved, it will move forward to councilors tonight.

Veterans Cemetery Board president Ron McKay said planning for the cemetery has gone well. The cemetery committee is also hoping to start getting information from [auth] residents about veterans who have died and need burials.

In July, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that a newly created State Veterans Cemetery Initiative would identify four sites throughout the state to place new rural cemeteries.

Roswell leaders hope the city is chosen as one of the locations. The local group has decided to move forward with its established plans, in hopes of later recouping costs through the federal program.

“This is an excellent preliminary step towards that end, to have Chaves County for one of the veterans cemeteries chosen by the state,” said Mayor Del Jurney.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, city staff did not have available any details of the special City Council meeting, other than a public notice that read: “Veterans Cemetery—Funding Improvements.”

The Finance Committee also did not have a prepared information packet.

No information was available about how much the city proposes to pay for the maintenance improvements at the cemetery. City staff was also unaware of the details of the meeting, according to Assistant City Manager Stacye Hunter.

“All we’re required to do is put out a notice of the agenda,” Hunter said. “I have not been privy as to the details. The mayor will run the meeting.”

Jurney said the city is being asked to provide maintenance for the property next to South Park Cemetery once it becomes a veterans cemetery. If the city approves the funds today, it would allow the group to start burying veterans at the site by the first of the year.

The money would fund the installation of a water line to a cul du sac on the property.

“What the Finance Committee is going to be asked to do is offset some of those maintenance costs,” Jurney said.

Those costs would allow the cemetery to get up and running in a timely manner, Jurney said.

The state’s plan could take up to two years. If Roswell becomes an approved location, the city could be reimbursed.

Anyone who wants more information about burying veterans at the site can call McKay at Ink Plus Inc. at 575-627-8069.

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