Funding for the operations and maintenance of the Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Goldsboro is already in state coffers, but an apparent misunderstanding of state law caused Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration to leave that funding out of their earlier base budget proposal to the legislature. State lawmakers have since identified the administration’s error and on Tuesday passed an amendment authored by Sen. Don Davis (D-Pitt) that will ensure the cemetery remains open.
In its 2015 biennial budget, the General Assembly provided $250,000 to cover operating costs of the cemetery on a nonrecurring basis for each fiscal year of the biennium and directed that receipts cover those costs going forward. The state veterans’ cemeteries have generated close to a million dollars in revenues this fiscal year, but Gov. Cooper’s Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) failed to update their base budget to account for that figure. In addition, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has about $500,000 of unspent funds at the end of the fiscal year which could have been used – upon the request of the Secretary and with approval of OSBM – toward funding for the Goldsboro cemetery.
“We are pleased we were able to identify and correct the problem in the governor’s base budget to ensure Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Goldsboro will remain open,” said Sen. Louis Pate (R-Wayne). “While we don’t believe the Cooper administration officials who caused this problem did so intentionally, we hope they will be more careful before taking hasty political shots and causing unnecessary anxiety among veterans’ families in our community.”