City of Wilmington may explore cemetery grants

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — Potential grants and the wording for a possible cemetery levy formed the focal point of a City Services Committee meeting.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the three committee members along with Mayor John Stanforth and Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker, discussed the next possible steps for a proposed tax levy to fund Sugar Grove Cemetery.

In regard to a levy for Sugar Grove Cemetery, Committee Chair Nick Eveland said he hadn’t heard any preferences from anyone about it.

Eveland said he’s done some research and discovered cemetery grants available at . He believes they should approach the city administration to see what grants they might come up with.

“This grant is for qualifying not-for-profit and local government cemeteries and helps defray costs of exceptional cemetery maintenance or training cemetery personnel in the maintenance and operation of cemeteries,” the website states. “Eligible applicants shall be cemetery operators properly registered with REPL, be a documented not-for-profit entity under the IRS tax code and be in compliance with any applicable endowment and/or pre-need cemetery merchandise and services trust accounts.”

When asked, committee member Jonathan McKay advised he had no prior experience with the website. But McKay told the Committee Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker was familiar with it.

“I believe that we need to go on and approve … writing the ballot language,” said McKay, advising he doesn’t want this to get stalled, ending up with them missing the filing deadline. Nor does he want this to get “ramrodded” through council.

Shidaker advised that the council would have to approve the resolution. McKay believes they need to have discussions at the next council meeting, approve the ballot language, have a public hearing, then have three separate readings for the ballot language.

“I think we need to move forward with it however we want to formulate it. I think we need to move it forward with everyone else on council,” said committee member Bill Liermann.

Shidaker told Eveland that the administration “would be happy to help” prepare a resolution with the committee’s guidance.

Discussions on the levy are expected to continue at the next full Wilmington City Council meeting on April 1.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.