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ECC work saves $$$ on new cemetery

Luis Martinez (left) and Richard Pacheco build brick pillars for the main gate at the new cemetery.

Sun Advocate reporter

Covering items ranging from public safety access to the sale of surplus property, the East Carbon City Council demonstrated during a Tuesday public hearing just how much money is being saved by taking a do-it-yourself approach to the city's cemetery project.

The public hearing was called to allow for comments concerning the possibility of selling small plots of surplus property adjacent to the new cemetery. After downsizing the project somewhat, the East Carbon council found that it would be possible to sell plots of land which are both adjacent to the new cemetery and property owners on the plot's west side.

"I think the sale of this property is only going to increase the tax base in the area as well as to provide additional revenue," said East Carbon Mayor Orlando LaFontaine. "This is a big project and it's going to be an asset to our community."

In its initial planning phases, the cemetery project ballooned into what one council member called an "overpriced monstrosity," before the council downsized their ambitions and decided to embark on a more modest venture. The city applied for a grant as was instead awarded a $400,000 loan at 2.5 percent interest from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board.

However, as the city began to develop the project's site, it became apparent that much of the work could be done with either in-kind donation from local businesses or by bidding out smaller pieces of the project and paying their own budget allowed.

"We haven't used any of that loan as of yet," said LaFontaine. "We have been able to get the project this far on our own and we are going to continue to do so."

Public comments concerning the type of fence to be used on the project as well as the availability of plots were answered by the council as those in attendance inquired more about the cemetery than the land sale associated with it.

"When you leave here tonight, know one thing," said East Carbon Council Member David Avery. "We are building an econo-cemetery with the best possible products we can find and the best craftsmanship we can find. We had a grant sitting out there for $400,000 and we haven't touched a penny of it. It's pay as you go. We believe that's what best here."

Much of the land, which runs along Denver Avenue, has been cleared of massive boulders and prepared for sprinklers and other underground piping. Brick fence columns which will mark the perimeter of the cemetery are also being constructed as crews are now working on the facilities main gate.

Following the public hearing, the city took several actions including allowing Mayor LaFontaine approach the CIB concerning a better interest rate for their loan should they need to use the funds.

The city will now wait for their Planning and Zoning committee to rezone the potential sale plots residential and then make their recommendation for sale. Once an an appraisal is made, those interested in the property will then have the opportunity to purchase the city land.

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