Cemetery commission agrees to buy zero-turn mower

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

By Kelby Newcomb


The Eureka Springs Cemetery Commission voted Wednesday, Feb. 20, to approve the purchase of a commercial grade Kubota zero-turn mower for $8,561.70.

Cemetery superintendent Pat Lujan said the commission has had about $8,000 set aside in the budget to replace their old zero-turn mower. The commission had voted in December 2018 to have Lujan research prices for a commercial grade zero-turn mower after their current one broke down again.

“The last one we had was not commercial grade, and that was the biggest problem,” he said. “This one is meant to run day after day. Compared to the others, it was one of the best I could find out there.”

Lujan continued, “It’s $7,720 after our 8 percent discount on it for being a cemetery. With taxes and all, it comes out to $8,561.70. We’ve had money for it in the budget for over a year now. We can cover that.”

The commission voted to advertise the sale of the old zero-turn mower online for a few months.

“If it doesn’t sell, we’ll haul it off,” said commission chairwoman Susan Tharp.

The commission also voted to approve the purchase of a Cyclone Rake for $1,863.

“I was asking about their bagging system,” Lujan said, “and the Kubota dealer suggested this to me. You get a double mulch. The tractor lifts leaves, mulches them and vacuums them into the motor for the leaf rake, and it chops them up again. This model is also commercial grade.”

Also at the meeting, the commission voted to budget the purchase and upkeep of a computer for the secretary and treasurer to maintain cemetery records.

“At one time, the commission owned a computer to do all of our secretarial work on,” Tharp said. “The gentleman that had it in his possession passed away, and the family took the computer. We never got it back, and we lost a lot of work he had done.”

She said the commission is at a point now where she believes they do need a computer.

“It would be for the secretary and treasurer to use here,” Tharp said. “If they need to take it home for the day, they will just make sure it’s back in. We can make a small checkout sheet about who had it last and the date they took it. It would be a simple sheet they could sign the computer in and out on.”

She said having a computer for the record-keeping would make the job of the secretary and treasurer easier and more manageable.

Lujan suggested a new cemetery policy preventing borders around plots, saying they have become an issue for maintenance.

“The corner markers are sufficient,” he said. “They’re marking the plots, so [borders] are really not necessary.”

Any existing borders would be grandfathered in, Lujan said, according to the cemetery’s guidelines.

Assistant secretary and treasurer David Sallee said he thought cemetery policy required people to get permission from the superintendent before putting a border around a headstone.

Lujan said that is correct.

“I’m suggesting we don’t allow them at all any longer,” he said, “because what we do have up for sale now are in additions and tighter areas. Borders are starting to get in the way. Once a tractor gets in there, it will probably destroy a lot of these borders.”

Commissioner Roderick Beattie said he was afraid banning borders would take away from the character of the cemetery.

“It seems important to me in a town with so much stone and so much creativity with stone,” he said. “I think we’d encourage it as much as we could.”

Tharp said she wouldn’t encourage borders because of the maintenance issues they create when mowing and weed-eating.

Beattie suggested they discuss the issue further at the cemetery workshop on Wednesday, April 10.

Lujan said he thought that would be a good idea.

“I’d like the workshop to be about two to three hours,” he said. “We’re going to start walking from one end of the cemetery to the other and all the way around. I can show you where some of these additions are, where we have room to put in cremain additions and things like that. You’ll see where some of my issues come in with the borders.”

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 13, in the Auditorium.

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