STRONG — The town’s Village Cemetery might need some more expensive repairs and rehabilitation, selectmen were advised Tuesday night.

Years ago, the town had a Cemetery Committee that shared the responsibility for maintenance, and funds have been kept in a trust.

Currently, the oversight of that trust is the responsibility of selectmen and Western Mountain Financial Services in Farmington. Selectmen have used small dividends regularly for maintenance costs.

On Tuesday night, Aaron Knapp, a financial planner for the firm, told selectmen the portfolio’s value is approximately $377,072. Virtually 100 percent of the money is invested in stocks. Most of the organizations he manages have a more balanced distribution of funds, he said.

Although the fund has done well financially because of the booming stock market, he suggested having the financial “eggs in one basket” might not be the wisest strategy if the stock market experiences a sharp correction.

Selectmen can decide what needs to be done, how soon and how much to spend to get the work completed. They also should plan a budget for care of the cemetery in the future, he said.

Knapp also suggested the portfolio’s cash might be safer redistributed in some more conservative options, even if the returns aren’t as high.

“The market has never been this high,” Knapp said. “If you told me you needed to take $10,000 out, I’d say this is the time to do it.”

Knapp will provide suggestions for redistributing the funds and amounts that could be withdrawn to address cemetery renovations without depleting the principal.

“The need for income should drive the allocation,” he said.

John Evans, resident and member of the Sandy River Riders ATV club, told selectmen the group has planned a roadside cleanup soon. Volunteers travel the roadsides to put trash in bags and haul it away.

In past years, the group has spent many hours making the town look more fresh after winter snow has melted. The handful of volunteers were very discouraged last year by the lack of help, he said, and they decided to cancel the day of work. The club will try again this year, he said.

Selectmen also decided to advertise foreclosed properties in local newspapers for public bids. The ads will run on May 28, 29, 30 and 31. Bids will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. June 10, and opened that evening at the selectmen meeting. Details of the property descriptions, which include three with land only and one with land and residence, will be in the advertisements.

“We’re doing OK with our electronic registration program,” town Treasurer and Tax Collector Sandra Mitchell told selectmen.

Selectmen also listened to recommendations for safety concerns, including adding a handrail in the stairwell to old office space on the second floor.


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