SLATON, Texas- A Slaton woman said on Monday that she is struggling to grieve the loss of several family members because the Englewood Cemetery, a municipal cemetery, is in “terrible” condition. The city responded by saying it can only do so much with the resources it has.

“They’re always talking about beautifying Slaton. When anyone comes into Slaton, what is the first thing they see before they enter the inside of our town? The cemetery,” said Mary Ann McWilliams, who has several family members buried there.

KLBK News saw overgrown brush covering headstones, countless ant hills, stickers and litter.

McWilliams said, in the past, high schoolers in charge of mowing have been careless and broken items on people’s gravesites. City officials said they have not heard anything about this before Monday.

“It’s depressing when you lose a loved one, but it sure is nice when you come here and [the landscape is taken] care of,” McWilliams began. “Not- ‘Well, I better grab a hoe, rake, ant poison and all that’ because that’s what it’s been in my case.”

Grounds maintenance is a service that the cemetery provides, according to its website.

However, McWilliams said she had to buy her own tools to maintain the landscape around her family’s plots, which she visits a few times every week. She also bought a bench to avoid the ant hills.

The cemetery supervisor, Carl Seymour, told KLBK News that he only uses ant poison two to three days prior to a funeral, which McWilliams said, doesn’t help those who visit their loved ones on a regular basis.

When asking City Administrator Wade Willson if he would, hypothetically, feel comfortable kneeling on the ground to be spend time at his loved one’s burial site, he said, “I would, yes.”

KLBK responded, “Even on an anthill?” to which Willson replied, “Well, this is nature,” and said his family is buried in the corner of an old, wheat field not much different from this.”

When pressed further, he began questioning McWilliam’s truth, asking “So, you’re saying that they don’t do ground maintenance at all, or that they’re just not able to do ground maintenance to your liking? … Do we need to make it rain more? I don’t understand. Where do we get the money from?”

The mayor of Slaton, Clifton Shaw, said that money could come from re-budgeting the city’s finances, which he said he would consider adjusting.

“The issue will be addressed- it will be addressed. We’ll see what we can do. We will do as much as we can do…” said Mayor Shaw.

However, the city said the lack of upkeep is not a major concern.

“I see some issues, yes, that could use attending, but again, it’s not even the time of year yet when we normally start mowing,” Willson said, adding he has a heavy work load. “The city needs a water tower. That, to me, is a huge issue. The city needs to replace a water tower, but then here I am standing at the cemetery [talking] about ants and stickers and I get it, but to me, the water tower is our number one issue.”

“They’re doing a terrible, terrible job,” McWilliams said, and without a clear plan, she said she is still concerned for families who are not getting the comfortable space that they deserve and paid for to grieve.

“Let’s take care of it. Our loved ones are out here,” she said.

The city stressed its biggest barriers standing in the way of a better-kept cemetery are the lack of financial resources and employees. They said only one person oversees and works within the cemetery.

Officials said they are hiring, but not specifically for cemetery maintenance. The city said applications to work for Slaton are on its website, but applicants will be assigned to whatever needs to be done in town.

Willson added, anyone with concerns or suggestions should contact him at (806) 828-2000, or they can file a concern here.