Boxwood Commission in Medina seeks access to $89K in perpetual care funds

Photo by Tom Rivers: Some of the gravestones at Boxwood Cemetery in medina are toppled over or in bad condition. The Boxwood Cemetery Commission would like access to perpetual care funds to help reset and repair some of the monuments and gravestones.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2022 at 8:51 am

MEDINA – The Boxwood Cemetery Commission sees a lot of need at Medina’s historic cemetery with some of the larger monuments fallen over or in disrepair. Many of the gravestones are well over 100 years old and in need of attention.

But the cemetery commission doesn’t have easy access to money to make the repairs. There is $89,000 sitting in a perpetual care fund but the commission hasn’t been able to use any of that money.

The local commission has reached out to the Village Board and the state Division of Cemeteries. The Village Board would like to give access to the perpetual care funds, but in a staggered way.

The Commission is going to draft by-laws for using the funds, with no more than 10 percent to be used in one year. That would give the Commission up to $8,900 to reset stones in the first year.

Last year a fallen tree knocked down and broke a large obelisk in the cemetery and that was about $5,000 to fix and reset. A lift needed to be brought in to the cemetery for the job.

The Village Board said with the by-laws in place it expects it would OK using the funds for the cemetery work. The board doesn’t think the state needs to give approval for tapping the perpetual care funds as long as there is a stated policy and process for utilizing the money.

Kathy Blackburn, the Commission chairwoman, said the perpetual care would focus on the gravestones and wouldn’t be used for taking down trees and planting new ones.

The Village Board said it will wait on a vote until seeing the language in the by-laws, including a description of how the funds can be spent.

The issue was brought up at last week’s board meeting. Blackburn was joined by Commission member Jake Hebdon, who said the cemetery needs the funds now to address some disrepair in the gravestones.

He said each gravesite has $100 set aside for perpetual care, and now is the time to do some of that care.

“I think we’re being cautious, which is good,” Hebdon said about spending funds from perpetual care. “But we could use it now.”

In other action from last week’s meeting:

The Village Board voted to increase the pay for summer help from the $13.20 minimum wage to $15. The village has three summer help positions available for the Department of Public Works but only one person, Jacob Bensley, applied.

The board hired Bensley at $15 an hour and said it would eliminate the third position so the two jobs would be at $15 an hour. That might draw more interest in applications.

The summer workers help with mowing, brush pickup, watering flowers and other tasks with the DPW. Interested applicants can get more information from the Village Office.

Gave the Girl Scouts permission to do gardening work at State Street Park and Gwinn Street Park. The Scouts want to leave little signs when they are done that says, “A Girl Scout was here.”