A Dresden husband and wife who are the caretakers of the Forest Hill Cemetery on Route 128 have been asking themselves, “Where have all the volunteers gone?”
Hard-pressed to continue the work alone, Sherry and Dan Moody appeared before the Dresden Board of Selectmen on Monday, March 5 to propose the transfer of the cemetery to the town.
“Every year we have sent out letters to owners of the lots notifying them about a meeting, but nobody shows,” Dan Moody said.
There were a lot of volunteers in the past, but Moody voiced frustration, saying volunteerism for such community service in this day and age seems to have vanished.
Sherry Moody pointed out that, according to the bylaws of the Forest Hills Cemetery Association, the association should have at least seven members, not just them alone.
“We do the upkeep ourselves,” Sherry Moody said. “The two of us just can’t do it anymore.”
The couple started to help take care of the cemetery a couple of years before Dan Moody’s mother, Hazel Moody, died. After his mother’s death, they took over as caretakers, a position Hazel Moody had held for many years.
“It is a public cemetery,” Sherry Moody said. “We’d like to transfer it over to the town in whatever period of time would be good for the town.”
First Selectman Dale Hinote said he has several relatives buried in the cemetery.
According to the Moodys, the cemetery includes 140 veterans’ graves. Some of the veterans fought in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, they said.
Sherry Moody said they approached the board a while ago to make it aware of the financial difficulty the association was having and its trouble getting volunteer help. Currently, she said, the association has a CD for $30,000 for perpetual care and a small fund for other expenses, but that is all.
Hinote suggested looking for alternatives, such as keeping the cemetery under the care of the association with some funding from the town and seeking grants to help with ongoing expenses for mowing and general maintenance. Up until now, the Moodys have been doing the mowing.
Third Selectman Allan Moeller said the town would have to pick up the tab and that would mean a vote of the town on a transfer.
“We should talk to a lawyer and find out what this is going to entail,” Moeller said.
Hinote asked Administrative Assistant Michael Henderson to research the matter.
In other business, the board discussed the prospects for cable expansion in the community after Henderson gave the board an update on the cable expansion committee’s findings.
Henderson said the town’s current franchise contract with Spectrum does not restrict the town from having other franchises. That leaves an open door to alternatives for cable and internet access, such as Lincolnville Communications and Axion Technologies, out of Washington County, he said.
According to Henderson, Spectrum does not really want to expand its service, which leaves some room for the town to negotiate contracts with other providers.
Second Selectman Dwight Keene made the board aware of the need to replace the waste oil burner at the recycling center. The burner has operated for 18 years, and a new one would cost about $2,000, he said.
Fire Chief Steve Lilly asked the board if the fire department could purchase a computer and have the town reimburse the department. Hinote told him to send the bill for the new computer.
The board decided to close the office at 7 p.m. on Thursday instead of 8 p.m.