The Clarksburg Cemetery needs some care after Selectmen were apprised of the buckling retaining wall, and rot in the equipment shed.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Selectmen on Wednesday voted to change the cemetery regulations to allow grave marker bases to be 60 inches, up from 48 inches in the past.
The vote was made to confirm decisions made back in 2011 that do not appear to have been voted on, said Chairman Carl McKinney. The discussion two years ago had raised the possibility of 72-inch basis but a consultation with Highway Foreman Kyle Hurlbut led to the 60-inch recommendation, he said.
Selectwoman Lily Kuzia agreed, "He knows what looks good there." Selectman Jeffrey Levanos, however, raised concern that Hurlbut had rejected requests for larger bases.
"He was going by the regulations that were on the books," said McKinney. "So I can't fault him for doing that ... for whatever reason they weren't adopted (in 2011)."
The tour with Hurlbut, however, uncovered some serious issues at the Henderson Cemetery that will need to be addressed, said McKinney.
The shed's floor is sitting on the dirt and rotting and the retaining wall along the northern driveway is deteriorating.
"The concrete block walls are severely compromised, leaning and unsightly so we want to investigate ways in which we can repair those," said McKinney. "We need to do more research on the perpetual care fund and where the lot sales are going, in general fund or perpetual care."
In other business, the Gates Avenue culvert will have to wait until next year.
Town Administrator Thomas Webb told the Selectmen on Wednesday that A.J. Virgilio Construction of Westfield, which had been awarded the contract last year, won't have time to start the project this year.
The culvert has been failing for some time and was further damaged after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Town officials had at first hoped to get state or federal money for its repair because of the storm but those funds failed to materialize. Virgilio had expected to begin construction in the spring but that was derailed when the state insisted on a far more expensive fix because of concerns over fish in the fast-moving stream.
It was only recently that the town was given the go-ahead to move forward with the original plans; but now Virgilio no longer has the time to do it.
"Due to the time that has passed, Virgilio will not be able to complete the job this year," said Webb. However, the construction company is willing to hold onto the original contract. "Most contractors would not hold it this long but they're doing it for us."
The board also welcomed two new assessors, Alan Reutlinger, chemical engineer, and Tracy Pierce, a real estate agent. Their appointment ends a controversy over McKinney and Webb serving as assessors that prompted former Selectwoman Debra Lefave to file an open meeing law complaint with the attorney general's office and criticism from the Department of Revenue. Ross Vivori was recently appointed principal assessor.
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