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Proposal made to loan extra money to cemetery
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MONROE - Members of the Finance and Taxation Committee are recommending the city of Monroe loan $11,000 to Greenwood Cemetery to help its board of directors pay off debts from 2015.

The cemetery board needs just less than $10,600. Monroe had been budgeting $33,000 annually for the cemetery for maintenance and upkeep; that amount was increased to $36,000 for 2016.

Alderman Reid Stangel recommended the loan to avoid setting a precedent with other groups. City Administrator Phil Rath said it was a logical step.

"It seems like the responsible way to go," Rath said.

Cemetery board chairman Nate Klassy told the committee Monday that the group ended 2015 with $105 left, but two bills yet to pay: one for bookkeeping services that totaled $7,565, and the other to repay Klassy for a $3,000 personal loan he made in September to help the cemetery with operational costs.

Board members remain hopeful the issue will be resolved, but Klassy noted that costs are changing and that the cemetery is less self-sustaining than in previous years.

"People are living longer," Klassy said. "Cremations are roughly half the burials the cemetery deals with now. There needs to be more burials (to have revenue.)"

Burying urns, or the cremains of someone, is less costly because of the smaller area used.

The new cemetery caretaker, Randy Reise, has been helpful in cutting costs, Klassy said. Still, the current earning potential of the cemetery's long-term care account has caused issues for the board. Revenue from interest accrued from the care account is down because of a lower interest rate.

"We did not make a third of the money we did before," Klassy said.

Members of the finance committee instructed city attorney Rex Ewald to draw up a plan for the $11,000 loan, which can be agreed on by both the Common Council and the cemetery board.