SPENCER – Selectmen will decide annually whether to continue an agreement with the Pine Grove Cemetery Corporation after learning that the $40,000 voters approved through a recent override vote must be approved at every town meeting.
The funds were sought to help defray costs of operating the cemetery which has fallen on difficult fiscal times and was in danger of closing, leaving the burial ground to become overgrown and untended.
But voters came to the rescue, agreeing to raise taxes by $40,000 annually, through an override of tax-limiting Proposition 2 ½, to help keep the cemetery afloat.
The measure was approved at both Town Meeting and through a special election on Sept. 12.
The move will permanently raise the tax rate by just under 3 cents per $1,000 valuation, officials said.
With the agreement approved by Selectmen, the Corporation must now offer its stamp of approval.
Selectmen said they will ask for audits of the Pine Grove financials.
“We have a responsibility to audit their books,” Selectman Gary Woodbury said.
The agreement also requires updates from the corporation to the town, similar to those offered by the Spencer Rescue Squad, officials said.
The new agreement allows the town to keep close tabs on the Pine Grove funds, Town Administrator Jeff Bridges explained.
Voters at the annual town meeting will be asked to approve the $40,000 as part of the town’s budget each year and following such votes, Selectmen will review the agreement and vote on any changes and its renewal.
Some of the town’s most noted residents are buried at Pine Grove including Veterans from every war.
Charles Adams Hunter who died in 1912, was a Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient buried at Pine Grove.
“He served as a Sergeant in the Union Army in Company E, 34th Massachusetts Infantry. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on April 2, 1865 at Petersburg, Virginia,” according to Findagrave.com.