Cemetery associations face funding quandaries
As I was reading the June 10th issue of the Dansville Wayland Pennysaver recently, I saw an ad placed by the St. Peter’s Cemetery Association in Perkinsville.
The ad was asking for donations to help the Association cover their expenses to maintain the upkeep of their cemetery.
Apparently, the Town of Wayland does contribute some funds but there is still a gap to meet expenses in what that contribution totals and in monies collected through burials.
This ad was made necessary due to the fact that according to New York State Laws regarding cemeteries, cemetery associations are not allowed to use any of the principal in their Permanent Maintenance accounts for the upkeep of a cemetery. They are allowed to use the interest only on those accounts and in case anyone is not aware, CD interest rates are not exactly wonderful.
A cemetery association could petition New York State to access some of that Permanent Maintenance principal balance, but the chances of success are not very high. New York State has put the burden back on the towns by saying that if a cemetery can’t meet their financial obligations, the town would take over the cemetery and they only have to mow it three times a year.
By John Sick | Wayland
That situation could very well occur even if a cemetery association had conceivably thousands of dollars in principal in Permanent Maintenance account CDs where they can’t touch anything but the interest by State Law.
How many folks would be happy to go visit a cemetery when the puss is a foot high?
As a treasurer of another Cemetery Association, I have to explain this situation yearly at our annual meetings. This is not much different than you as a homeowner having a savings account with money set aside for emergencies and when an emergency occurs, the bank says sorry you can’t use any of that money but you can use the interest.
How does that make any sense? How does what the New York State Laws regarding cemetery use of Permanent Maintenance principal make any sense?
This ad run by the St. Peter’s Cemetery Association will not be the only one from a Cemetery Association that you will see as time goes by.
More and more cemeteries struggle to get by one year at a time. Towns have already had to take over maintenance of many cemeteries.
Isn’t it time for some smart state assembly member or state senator to step up and address the ridiculousness of this situation?