Town planning to assume responsibility for local cemeteries

KENT — After months of consideration of disbanding the Kent Cemetery Association, the Board of Selectmen reviewed a nearly final draft of a new cemetery ordinance at a special workshop meeting Tuesday, Feb. 6.

If the new ordinance is approved at a town meeting, the town would take on responsibility for Kent’s six cemeteries, disbanding the association.

The selectmen voted unanimously to approve the new ordinance, pending one final review by the town attorney.

All assets of the Association will be transferred to a special account within the town budget. The town will appropriate funds to the new committee for cemetery operations.

The six cemeteries to be included are Bulls Bridge, Congregational, Flanders, Good Hill, Skiff Mountain and St. Andrew’s. Considered a department of the town, the new Cemetery Committee would consist of five volunteer members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen. One member would serve for two years, two for four years and two for six years to stagger the term expiration dates.

“The ordinance should recognize the new cemetery committee and assume the obligations of the committee members,” advised town attorney Randall DiBella, who was present at the meeting. He added that the committee must be responsible for establishing and maintaining cemetery operations.

“We don’t want an ordinance with a lot of detail,” DiBella said, cautioning that a public hearing process would be required to make any change in an ordinance. Most operational questions, DiBella advised, could be administered by the committee’s cemetery rules and regulations, where changes could be recorded and implemented by simple action of that committee.

The schedule of fees should be found in the committee’s regulations, not in the ordinance itself, agreed Selectwoman Lynn Worthington.

“We can move this forward now,” said First Selectman Marty Lindenmayer. “We could just get it started,” he added, referring to the ordinance.

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