Cemetery Commission

There are things that a City does not do optimally. Some of these services should be “spun-off”. That was the reason for creation of Enterprise fund legislation. Services which are supported by funding from clients are the most common enterprise fund candidates.

Water and sewer funds are common. They may require large outlays to get started but are fully supportable by funding of clients/users.

I would recommend that in Methuen we create a Cemetery Commission.

The Cemetery Commission should be  responsible for overseeing matters that affect the City’s four public cemeteries.

The current list of cemeteries is as follows:

ELMWOOD CEMETERY 1700 to present 130 North Lowell Street.

MEETING HOUSE HILL BURYING GROUND 1728 to present Berkeley Street.

VILLAGE BURYING GROUND 1832 to present Opposite the Presentation of Mary Academy, behind the wall.

ST. PETER & PAUL RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CEMETERY 1950 – present North Lowell Street, past Elmwood.

[Note: I erroneously added this cemetery which is not City owned. Forgive my oversight.]POLISH NATIONAL CATHOLIC CEMETERY 1928 – present North Lowell Street, opposite Elmwood.

These have perpetual funds and through the sale of plots raise funds to maintain the site.

An enterprise fund should be set up along with a commission to oversee these sites.

Quoting from an ordinance to create a similar commission in Gardner Massachusetts;

(a) The Commission shall have sole control over and responsibility for the management of perpetual care funds pursuant to M. G. L. A. Chapter 114, Section 19 and M. G. L. A. Chapter 44, Section 54.

(b) Said Commission shall be charged with keeping full and complete records concerning such perpetual care funds and to render to the Mayor and the City Council as often as may be required by them, a full report concerning such perpetual care funds under the control during the period reported on.

(c) Said Commission shall shall be charged with the supervision, care and upkeep of all public cemeteries within the City and as to the proper expenditure of the perpetual care funds under the control of said Commission.

How many members, their qualifications, whom shall appoint and to whom they report I leave up to the City Council to hash out.

My recommendations would be that the Commission be 3 persons, one should be a Funeral Home Director, one a businessman and one a resident of Methuen. They should be appointed for 3 year terms.

I have listed some Statute References:
C.264 Acts 1890;
C.337 Acts 1891;
MGL C.285 Special Acts 1915;
MGL C.243 Special Acts 1916.

admin posted at 2009-10-30 Category: Boards and Commissions

3 Responses Leave a comment

  1. #1jgodsey @ 2009-10-30 14:58

    Methuen is kinda commission heavy.. and i have never been entirely convinced that is the best method for getting things done.

    can you explain what needs to be addressed by the creation of still yet another commission?

  2. #2Jack Burke @ 2009-10-30 17:34

    First, I don’t disagree about commissions in this City.
    However, they are often the wrong mechanism to solve the issue.
    My premise is that services which rely upon and can be wholly supported by the existing fee structure, should be spun off as Enterprise funds. That is the true purpose of the fund. Much like the Water Enterprise or Sewer Enterprise funds.(which should be spun off as a Water and Sewer Commission.)

    It frees resources within the Municipal structure to concentrate on either improving or making the other services that are left with the City more efficient and cost effective.

    Enterprise funds are or should be a quasi privitization measure.
    Hope this clears things up a bit.

  3. #3Johny J @ 2009-11-1 10:38

    I have to agree with you in regards to the cemetery. First, with the recent acquisition of the Orthodox Cemetery has put a burden on three/four workers at the elmwood who oversee theses two cemeteries. It is also noted that they do not get the equipment they need to maintain the properties as other departments benefit from the monies raised. It’s obvious that there need to be an enterprise fund for the cemeteries and allow them to run level funded if possible. These guys working there can;t even get rakes, I known for a fact that they are proud workers and head of to Home Depot and buy equipment out of their own pockets just to make sure the cemeteries look good at all times.

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