[Vision2020] water use at Moscow cemeteries

Bev Bafus bevbafus at verizon.net
Tue Jun 17 12:09:39 PDT 2008

I support the Cemetery District taking over Sunset Gardens.

We have the title to two lots there that our parents purchased in the 50's.

I don't think we'll use them, unless the care is taken over by the Cemetery

It does seem a bit absurd to use so much water in the hottest part of the
summer, just for green lawns on graves.  They can still be attractive in
their natural state.

  -----Original Message-----
  From: vision2020-bounces at moscow.com
[mailto:vision2020-bounces at moscow.com]On Behalf Of Bill London
  Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 12:05 PM
  To: vision2020 at mail-gw.fsr.net
  Subject: [Vision2020] water use at Moscow cemeteries

  According to a report in the Daily News (June 9), the Moscow Cemetery
District could take over maintenance of the Sunset Memorial Gardens
Cemetery, a private cemetery located at Mountain View Road and the Troy
Highway, if Latah County taxpayers agree to an override levy of about
$10,000 annually. A vote to increase county taxes by that amount could be on
the ballot in May.

  I believe that the Moscow Cemetery District should take responsibility for
Sunset Gardens. That is the right thing to do.

  However, I also believe that an override levy increasing our county taxes
by $10,000 annually for that purpose is not likely to find enough public

  Given that situation, perhaps this is an appropriate compromise: add
Sunset Gardens to the Moscow Cemetery District, but cut district expenses
sufficiently to absorb the additional maintenance costs. Cut those expenses
by drastically reducing water use at both the Moscow Cemetery and at Sunset

  According to information from the cemetery district office, the cost of
pumping water from the aquifer to irrigate the cemeteries is about $10,000
annually. The real cost of irrigating those huge lawns is much higher if
labor costs are included.

  Those two cemeteries could drastically cut water usage and irrigation
costs by maintaining all the trees and bushes, but allowing the lawn to
naturally brown in the summer. If the Moscow Cemetery District cut its
irrigation program, significant savings in the district's $175,000 annual
property tax bill would follow. Both the Moscow Cemetery and the Sunset
Gardens Cemetery would be maintained, and no taxes raised to do so.

  Here's some reasons why the Moscow Cemetery District should cut water
usage and allow the cemetery lawns to brown naturally every summer:

    1.. The city of Moscow has committed itself to water reduction through
public education and a rate schedule that encourages water conservation and
significant reduction in lawn watering. Moscow's citizens have responded and
many Moscow lawns are now browning annually.

    2.. The aquifer that is the source of this irrigation water is a
quickly-disappearing and finite water source that should be protected and
conserved. Watering the cemetery lawns wastes this precious resource.

    3.. Most of Latah County's 30 public cemeteries are not irrigated. Those
non-irrigated cemeteries are well-maintained, mowed, and attractive. The
people buried at the non-irrigated cemeteries in Latah County are not less
honored or respected than those buried at the few irrigated cemeteries.

    4.. The Moscow Cemetery District presently administers two cemeteries.
The other is the Buchanan Cemetery off Lenville Road, which is not
irrigated. Therefore, the district has no requirement or mandate to
irrigate, just a tradition of doing so. That tradition should change to fit
the environmental awareness and constraints of our era.

    5.. Allowing a cemetery lawn to brown with the summer heat is
appropriate, since this symbolizes the cycles of life and represents the
seasonal changes our our landscape.

  Conserving our aquifer and resolving the issue of perpetual maintenance at
Sunset Gardens are important goals – and both goals can best be met by
curtailing irrigation by the Moscow Cemetery District.


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