At an August 27 workshop, the Glendale City Council discussed residents’ outstanding concerns regarding the proposed sale of the Glendale Memorial Park Cemetery.
But while council members were scheduled to vote on the controversial issue at a regular meeting following the discussion, they ultimately decided to hold off on making a decision.
Assistant City Manager Chris Anaradian shared a series of questions he said were raised since the council last discussed the sale during an August 13 workshop.
“One of the first questions that came up when we talked about the operation of the facility going forward and our willingness to have equipment involved with that transaction was: What exact equipment is out there?” Anaradian said.
The equipment — which consists of a John Deere Backhoe, John Deere 777 Riding Mower, John Deere Gator Utility, Case 570MXT Tractor and two Exmark Lazer Z Mowers — is not new and has experienced depreciation, Anaradian added.
The cemetery’s perpetual care fund, used exclusively for the perpetual care of the historic property, was also a topic of discussion at the meeting.
In response to a question about the city’s ability to dissolve the fund, Assistant City Manager Vicki Rios told council members, “The city can dissolve the perpetual care fund. It was created by an ordinance and it can be dissolved similarly.”
Vice Mayor Joyce Clark voiced a concern when a related question was posed: What happens if the buyer is unable to manage the cemetery in outyear?
“It is this council’s unequivocal, public commitment to retain the Glendale Memorial Park Cemetery as a cemetery perpetually. Here’s the problem: Future councils may not be bound by that intent,” Clark said.
“I think it is very, very important … we put some kind of minimal language in there, into the sales agreement, that states that it is incumbent upon us to keep this as a cemetery,” she added.
Because the proposed transaction involves real property, the land will be derestricted so it will always be used as a cemetery, said Michael Bailey, city attorney.
Anaradian, who said some believe the sales price is inadequate, said the city looked for the best offer in the marketplace.
“We hired a professional broker that specializes in these types of properties. They marketed the cemetery to a very small universe of cemetery operators,” Anaradian explained. “We tested the marketplace, and we got what the market was willing to bring in response.”
But council members, who were scheduled to determine the sale of the land at their regular meeting on August 27, have yet to vote.
“The purchaser has actually requested the continuance of that item so that we can work out all the details on the purchase and sale agreement and that there will be sufficient time for that to be reviewed,” Bailey said.
Barrel Councilman Bart Turner added, “We’re not going to be voting on this tonight. There’s still more time for consideration and to iron more details and help establish a higher confidence level on whatever decision we’re going to make on that.”