The Sugar-Salem-Moody Cemetery is in need of a new irrigation pump and an electrical supply system.
The current system is more than 50 years old and cannot be fixed, said the cemetery’s secretary and treasurer Joyce Cromar.
“It’s beyond repair. (Repairmen) are refusing to come out and do any repairs on it. We struggled last year watering,” she said.
One bid to update the pump came in at $51,000, Cromar said.
“If we do this right, we should replace the whole thing. Hopefully, it will last another 50-something years without being replaced,” she said.
Upgrading the watering system will help the cemetery board maintain the graveyard as it has in the past, Cromar said.
“We want to keep our cemetery a very peaceful and beautiful place for family members to come, be with loved ones and not be in a patch of weeds. If we don’t get this taken care of, it will end up being a patch of weeds,” she said.
The cemetery is its own taxing district and receives some funds from the county. The cemetery board also earns money by selling gravesites. The money is just enough to cover the sexton’s salary, Cromar said.
While grateful for all the money the cemetery board receives, Cromar says it’s not enough to cover the $51,000 that’s required to repair the water system.
To help raise funds, the cemetery has sent out a letter to residents asking for donations toward purchasing the new water system. It’s also placed the letter on the Sugar City News Facebook page.
“By law, the cemetery cannot raise its budget more than 3% a year, get loans, or go into debt,” says the letter.
The cemetery board has applied for and received grants in the past, but it hasn’t qualified for recent funding. To help offset some of the maintenance costs, volunteers have helped beautify parts of the cemetery, said the letter.
The cemetery board has also asked the Madison County Commissioners for extra funding to cover the cost of the cemetery’s watering system. The commissioners have asked the cemetery board to first look into other sources of money, Cromar said.
“We said ‘When you’ve done all that you can, come back,’” said Commissioner Brent Mendenhall, who oversees the cemetery for the county.
Mendenhall said he realizes the urgency involved in getting the cemetery’s pump system up and running by Memorial Day.
“They have run into a perfect storm where they are in trouble with their irrigation system. It’s not just the pump, it’s the irrigation system they need to replace,” he said.
Replacing the watering system is a top priority for the board, Mendenhall said.
“It’s not gathering dust. It’s in the forefront. We’re trying to make sure everything is in the framework for the cemetery district,” he said.
For various legal reasons, Cromar says the cemetery board can’t set up a GoFundMe account. While it can’t do a GoFundMe account, it can request donations via its letter, she said.
“We have nowhere to turn but to you citizens and businesses,” reads the letter. “We must raise the money this April and May. Any contributions from our community will show we are striving to do our part. Our cemetery is a vital part of our community, and we desire to maintain it as a beautiful sanctuary, where family members can visit, mediate, reflect and remember their deceased loved ones.”
Checks or money orders may be deposited or mailed to Key Bank at 110 E. Main Street Rexburg, Idaho 83440 or mailed to Sugar-Salem-Moody Cemetery 10 Jaxon Drive, Sugar City, Idaho 83448. Donations are tax deductible.