Unmarked graves trouble Sunnyside
With a number of graves in the Valley View Cemetery left with only a small grave marker, or for others nothing at all, the Sunnyside City Council discussed the possibility of a new regulation for markers.
In the cemetery there are little metal markers for some graves which have a small label on them notifying who the grave belongs to. The city council was looking at a possible regulation asking people to put some sort of marker on a grave, even if it is small.
City Recorder Polly Sanderson gave an example of a marker on a grave that was about 1 foot by 8 inches costing about $200. Councilman Tony Riffle questioned whether a majority of people in the city could afford that much for a grave marker.
"$200 is a lot of money for some people here," Riffle said.
One question that was posed during the discussion by Councilwoman Nola Porter asked how the ordinance could be enforced. With the number of graves left with a little marker and some with nothing, the council agreed that it is a difficult situation keeping track of where everyone in the cemetery is located.
There is a database for the cemetery, but it is not up to date, Sanderson said. Many markers in the cemetery have not yet been entered into the computer yet, she said.
Council members Porter and Riffle said that the records for the cemetery should be updated constantly and Riffle added that when looking at a map layout of the cemetery it should be known who is buried and where the grave is located. Sanderson said that nothing was done until 1993 to put anything on paper or in the computers.
There are some places in the cemetery that don't have markers on them at all and another issue is what type of marker would be suggested for families to purchase. Because the city maintenance crew wants to clean, mow the grass and maintain the cemetery, a suggestion is for the type of marker to be flat so it doesn't create a problem. Parts of the cemetery are in question, so much so that there is no digging done in those areas because there is no idea whether or not anything, or anyone, is there already.
The council discussed having a new section of the cemetery be full with flatstone markers only.
Councilman Kelly Maynes suggested that the city council look into other cities who take care of cemeteries and see what their ordinances are before moving forward with one for Sunnyside.
The city council also discussed the Community Impact Board priority list for 2011 with short, medium and long term items.
The complete list that Sunnyside will turn in needs to be finished and sent in by Nov. 1, so that projects for each county can be prioritized at the Association of Local Government meetings. The AOG meeting would then take place in the first week of November with the priority list going on the commission agenda shortly after that.
Currently Sunnyside has nothing on their priority list. The sewer outfall line project is one that will be added, although it may be labeled as a emergency project.
Some of the projects discussed by the council included the sewer outfall line, fixing up the tennis courts, new ambulance and fire truck, purchasing land for the cemetery, a possible water spray park for children and more.
With a month left before the deadline, Councilwoman Shari Madrid suggested that the council give the priority list some thought and come up with a set list for the next city council meeting on Oct. 19.