WILMINGTON — A possible levy could be on the November ballot for Sugar Grove Cemetery.
During a City Services Committee meeting on Thursday, the group come up with a recommendation for Wilmington City Council at the next meeting.
“The cemetery fund is running a deficit of about $150,000 a year. The first question we’re going to have to address is whether or not we want to continue to fund that deficit out of the general fund. Or ask the citizens of Wilmington for a levy,” said Committee Chairperson Nick Eveland.
Committee Member Jonathan McKay advised that he’d prefer not to fund the cemetery from the general fund, as they’ve been doing.
“We promised the taxpayers something with our levy that we put on not so long ago; the cemetery was not a part of that bargain, and I’m of the opinion we should probably have a levy,” said McKay. “I don’t want to do that. I hate that thought. But when I first came onto council, Brian (Shidaker) and I had a long discussion about how it’s going to happen eventually because the money that was there in perpetuity is running out. It’s sucking a lot of funds. The cemetery was in such bad shape when we inherited it that we’ve had to use these funds … now all of a sudden we’ve had to supplement things.”
Committee Member Bill Liermann expressed that he didn’t want to put it to the taxpayers, but said, “It’s inevitable that we’ll have to do it. That’s just the way things transpire. We can’t just keep kicking the can down the road.”
Eveland told those at the meeting that such a levy would be between three-quarters of a mill and one mill.
Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker calculated three-quarters of a mill would bring in approximately $134,000 ($26 annually per $100,000 property value), and one mill would bring in approximately $232,000 ($34 annually per $100,000 property value).
Liermann said he supports going for the one mill instead of going smaller and possibly then having to convince residents to support more down the line. Liermann added he wants the city to be totally transparent with the public about what the money would be used for.
The committee agreed to have a discussion about it on the agenda for the next council meeting on Thursday, March 4.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574