KECI

Taxpayers help foot Missoula's monument service

Taxpayers help foot Missoula's...

MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula Cemetery Board plans to sell monuments and offer other services for a lesser cost than some local businesses.

It comes at a cost to taxpayers, who have already shelled out money for the service.

"If the city wants to do something to help out with the cost I’m all for it; its already a time of mourning, it’s important to have options," Missoula resident Jennifer Roff said.

Offering the possible new options come at a cost.

We dug through credit card invoices from the city and found so far taxpayers have spent nearly $4,000 to send some workers to a monument builders trade show.  The trade show is a chance for monument business owners to network and learn new trades.

"I think if we’re paying for it anyway it should go to helping local businesses," Missoula resident Bronwyn Troutman said.

The city explicitly says it's not opening a new business but instead offering services which aim to bring in revenue.

One local monument business, Garden City Monument and Funeral Home, says it’s unfair competition.

"I think we should be supporting local businesses.  If it makes more sense definitely support local businesses," Missoula resident Caitlin Troutman said.

The city fired back and said their services will only be offered to current customers.

More than $3,000 has already been spent on the service and City Council has approved more than $10,000 to go with it.

The cemetery board will meet Thursday to discuss the issue further.

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