WILTON – Toppling stones, rising expenses and a lack of help brought Priscilla Beedy before the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday to request the town take over the East Wilton Cemetery in 2010.

Board members commended the work Beedy has done over the years but while willing to help felt it was a little out of order to come to the town first without the cemetery association voting to release the cemetery to the town.

They then offered Beedy help in organizing a meeting of members to decide what to do.

“It was a hard decision to make,” Beedy stated as she recounted the work that needs to be done to the cemetery on Cemetery Road. Beedy has been keeping the cemetery going pretty much on her own since her husband, Bob, died a few years ago.

“People offer to help but don’t show,” she said. “The cemetery has a lot of issues. Some of the old-timers have gone and it’s too much for me to handle.”

Stones in the older section, some dating back to the mid-1800s, need to be reset, fences need repairing, a tool shed was broken into, an urn has been stolen from the cemetery and a newer section located across the road needs to be separated into lots according to state law, she said. Something she can’t do.

The cemetery runs on the interest from a principal of $30,000, and an amount raised from perpetual care and the sale of lots that earns about $1,800 a year in interest.

When interest rates were higher, she could do some extra projects like having stones reset, she said.

There’s not enough interest money and expenses are going up, she said. For some things, she’s had to dip into the principal, she said. Some projects have been paid from her own pocket.

While Selectman Russell Black commended Beedy for her work, he said there were cemetery association members who were willing to help, and a meeting of the members should be held to generate help.

Black expressed his surprise that a corporation of one person could handle the books and make decisions.

“I wouldn’t want to be liable,” he said. “People are willing to help . . . we need to make a good effort to get the association back. It’s a little out of order to come to the town first.”

Black, an association member himself, claimed he has asked her to call a meeting as they have not met for the last few years.

Other selectmen also questioned how the town could take it over without a vote from the association, which includes anyone, resident or not, who owns a lot in the cemetery.

Chairman Paul Gooch offered help from the town’s office staff to draft and send letters to an expected 25-40 members to meet soon and address the issues.

“She’s (Beedy) done her duty,” he said.

Suggestions, such as asking the Boy Scouts to help with stone and fence repair or involving the East Wilton Improvement group, were also made by board members.


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