City leaders approved on Wednesday a budget amendment increasing funds for perpetual care at the city cemetery by $200,000. Of those funds, $70,000 is allotted to purchase and install security cameras at the cemetery, $100,000 will be used for equipment, and $30,000 is intended for landscaping services for the remainder of the year.
The installation of security cameras has been a goal of the cemetery, and the Board, for some time. Vandalism at the cemetery is a recurring problem, with a particularly damaging incident that occurred a few weeks ago bringing the issue back into the spotlight.
“We came in on Monday morning…and saw the damage. Over that weekend they knocked down several markers,” said Venable Moore, who has been over the cemetery since 1990. “In 1972 or 3 we had a landslide by Skyfarm and a lot of stones and crypts washed out onto the street. About a year and a half ago we had some isolated vandalism but this is the worst single case we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Familiar names and plots in the cemetery were damaged with no discernable intent apparent. “It was probably teenagers. They knocked over stones and broke a water line, leaving it running for no reason. Just to be mean,” explained Moore.