HEBRON — Fifty residents gathered at the Hebron Station School last Saturday to attend the annual town meeting. Residents and selectmen had different views on how much should be spent to upkeep cemeteries for the 2014 to 2015 year.

The Hebron Budget Committee recommended that $4,000 be allotted for maintenance and upkeep on cemeteries in town. Last year, $2,000 was raised for the cemeteries, and of that money only $1,871.68 was spent. For this upcoming year, the recommendation was doubled from last year’s funds because of new laws put in place by the legislature on specific work that needs to be done for cemeteries with veteran gravestones.

In 2013, the legislature released new regulations that needed to be taken to keep veteran gravestones in good shape. The law states that any cemetery in the state of Maine that plays host to at least one veteran gravestone must be held to new regulations.

Because of these new tasks that need to be done in the cemeteries in Hebron, the Budget Committee recommended that more money be put aside to maintain them.

After a motion was made to approve only $2,000 for town cemeteries, Hebron Selectman Daniel Eichorn amended the motion to $4,000.

‘We’ve got a requirement from the state that we maintain cemeteries,’ Eichorn told the gymnasium of nearly 50 residents. ‘Any cemetery in this town that’s got a veteran, we’ve got to maintain.’

Some of the requirements for the cemeteries include trimming the grass to be now shorter than 1.5 inches, but no taller than three inches, making sure stones are standing up properly, and making sure they are clean and legible to be read.

Eichorn said that there will be penalties to the town if they do not keep up with the maintenance of the cemeteries. If any government officials were to come to the town and notice broken gravestones, there will be penalties to the town.

Some residents questioned the need for extra money to go into cemetery maintenance because not all of the $2,000 was spent on cemeteries last year. ‘The regulations are relatively new,’ Eichorn assured the residents that questioned the cost increase. ‘Last year was the first year that we had these additional requirements.’

The additional requirements will cost additional money.

‘I don’t see why there should be any argument,’ said resident Lon Francis. ‘These are our veterans. These are people that were here in this town, that were buried in this town. I don’t see why there’s any question.’

‘If I was laying in that ground or your father was laying in that ground, you’d like to take care of it,’ he continued.

Eichorn added that if anybody would like to volunteer to take care of the cemeteries, it would be greatly appreciated. But for now, money needs to be set aside to take care of the cemeteries.

Residents voted to approve the amended $4,000 to take care of additional maintenance to cemeteries in Hebron.

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