East Carbon gets $50,000 USDA grant for new cemetery
The East Carbon City Cemetery Project received a boost last week, as Mayor Orlando LaFontaine secured United States Department of Agriculture funding to help pay for the undertaking.
"I've been doing business with the USDA since the beginning of my administration and they have always been a big help," said LaFontaine. "They have always been there when our city needed them."
The East Carbon council voted unanimously during last week's meeting to have LaFontaine contact the USDA about funding a portion of the cemetery. After a discussion of the project, department officials committed to a $50,000 grant which LaFontaine says will be used to pay for the cemetery's perimeter fence. The fence, which is already going up, will be constructed of eight foot custom brick pillars joined by chain link coated with a black plastic.
LaFontaine and his administration have obtained multiple grants from the USDA over the past eight years, helping the city to complete projects including their walking trail as well as public safety programs.
LaFontaine contacted USDA body after the council decided to move forward with the project without the assistance of loan money offered by the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board. While the city was awarded a $400,000 loan from the CIB, they have chosen instead to build the cemetery piecemeal, paying for what they can, as they can. The city had originally contacted the CIB about a grant and felt that they could save city residents money by not using the loan, which costs 2.5 percent interest.
According to council member Barbara Robinett, East Carbon officials decided to fund the project on their own as soon as they began seeing bids and realized that they could.
Taking from their own general fund and using what in-kind and donated services they can, the city has been able to clear the property, begin digging the plumbing and start the perimeter fence.
"This is an important project, because we have run out of room to bury our loved ones and our city's elderly simply can't afford to travel back and forth to Price to visit their deceased family members," said LaFontaine.
In addition to the USDA funding and in-kind work, the East Carbon council is in the process of selling small plots of land which are adjacent to the new cemetery and private land. Proceeds from the plot sales will further assist the city to pay for the cemetery's cost.
Working against the onset of fall and winter, the city will now attempt to finish as much work as possible before cold weather sets in.