Sen. Aguilar proposes backup funding plan for Grand Island veterans cemetery
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - State Senator Ray Aguilar and a few of his colleagues want $8 million from the state’s general fund to build a new state veterans cemetery in Grand Island.
Aguilar said the money would go to the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs in case expected federal funding for the project doesn’t come through. Calling this Plan B, Aguilar said, “Plan A is for the federal government to include this in the omnibus spending bill.” Aguilar said it wasn’t clear that funds for the cemetery would be coming from the recently passed omnibus spending bill.
Aguilar said the bill would be heard by the legislature’s government affairs committee. The chair of that committee is Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, whom Aguilar says is known to be a supporter of veteran’s projects. Aguilar said that while the state waits for federal funding, the bill would be a lower priority for the committee.
Aguilar said that this matter might be part of the scramble for funds that are likely to come from state senators at a time when the state appears to be having a pretty good year for tax revenue. Aguilar’s co-sponsors for the bill are State Senators Carol Blood of Bellevue, Brewer, Barry DeKay of Niobrara, Loren Lippincott of Central City and Danielle Conrad of Lincoln.
He also said that money for the cemetery could come from left-over or unused ARPA funds that Nebraska received from the federal government as a result of the pandemic.
During 2021 the Grand Island community raised $750,000 locally to fund the new cemetery, but the project was delayed when expected federal funds didn’t come through.
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