BETHEL – The Board of Selectmen agreed Monday evening to look into the cost of assuming control of the South Bethel Cemetery on Route 26.

Town Manager Christine Landes said Ruby Coolidge of the South Bethel Cemetery Association said the association is “basically broke.”

“I was told that they’ve been having trouble finding volunteers to mow the cemetery, and that every year, the large pine trees on the property knock over headstones,” Landes said. “Ruby said she believes the association has enough money to last another year.”

Selectman Peter Southam asked Landes what it would cost  the town to take control of the graveyard.

While Landes said she didn’t have an exact figure, she heard the cost of removing the large pine trees could be upward of $20,000.

“Central Maine Power also told the South Bethel Cemetery that they wouldn’t do anything with the pine trees since they’re not interfering with power lines.”

Selectwoman Pat Carter asked, “Isn’t there a law on the books that says cemeteries with veterans have to be maintained? I believe there are veterans in that cemetery.”

Landes confirmed that it was a law.

“Ultimately, I don’t think we have a choice. I think we have to take care of it,” Carter said.

Southam suggested that the town dig a little deeper into the potential cost of town control.

Landes told the board that she wanted to bring the issue before them now so they could come up with a plan.

“This issue will have to go before the residents,” she said. “I figured we could discuss it now, and we’d have something ready for the people at next year’s town meeting.”

In other business, the board unanimously voted to renew a victualer license for The Hitching Post, liquor licenses for Gourmet in a Pitch and the Gideon Hastings House, and an entertainment permit for Gourmet in a Pinch.

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