Marion to look into cemetery upkeep

Jul 11, 2019

MARION — The Cemetery Commission wasn’t at a meeting with department heads that the Selectmen held on July 11, but by the end of the meeting Selectmen might have wished they could have asked the commission for input. 

Casey Barros, a member of the Capital Improvement Planning Committee brought up that he had heard three or four negative comments about the conditions of the cemeteries recently.

He wanted to let the Department of Public Works know of the comments as it considers reallocating hours for its employees.

Other meeting attendees noted that some families will plant shrubs and leave them for year and now they’re trees. Others described  family plots where it’s difficult to see the plot for all the shrubbery. 

Selectmen John Waterman asked about the funding sources for the Cemetery Commission to carry out its work. 

Finance Director Judy Mooney noted that the commission has some funds, but but they are not sufficient. 

The commission is paid opening and closing fees for new plots, as well as a perpetual care fee. However Mooney also said that three or four years ago the Commission had to submit an article at Town Meeting because those funds were not sufficient. 

Responsibilities are also complicated because the Cemetery Commission does not perform maintenance work itself and instead must ask the Department of Public Works to perform tasks. 

Still, Selectman John Waterman noted that even if they can’t do the work “the cemetery committee is the one that should be able to bring that up,” not Barros. 

Selectmen will speak to the Commission at their August meeting.