The Town of Cambridge has several boards, committees and commissions, both elected and appointed. As I learn the job of the selectboard, I am also learning what these other groups do. This post is about the cemetery commission.
Cemeteries are the subject of Vermont Statutes Title 18 Chapter 121 (§§ 5300-5579). Cemeteries that are not operated by an independent cemetery association or a church are the responsibility of the town. The selectboard is responsible for such town cemeteries unless the town has voted to establish a board of three or five cemetery commissioners (18 V.S.A. § 5373 and § 5374). The Town of Cambridge voted to establish a board of three cemetery commissioners at its annual town meeting on March 6, 1979. Click here for the warning and minutes pertaining to that action.
The 2016 Town of Cambridge annual report (here) lists “Cemetery Commission” under both elected town officers and appointed town officers, but no names are listed. I believe the intent was that there be one elected commissioner and two appointed commissioners, but all positions were unfilled at the time.
At town meeting on March 7, 2017, Sandra (Sandy) Albright was elected cemetery commissioner (minutes here). At the first selectboard meeting following town meeting, on March 20, 2017, the selectboard appointed Jennifer Bartlau and Kate McCuin Clark as additional cemetery commissioners (minutes here).
A reading of the statutes mentioned above indicates that all three cemetery commissioners should be elected, with rolling three year terms. At the next town meeting in March 2018, we should make this so.
The cemetery commission is responsible for the care and management of the town’s cemeteries, with specific responsibilities in the statutes listed above. The selectboard has no role. Sandy Albright has identified the following cemeteries in Cambridge that the cemetery commission is responsible for: East Cambridge, South Cambridge, North Cambridge, Gates, Giddings, Hopkins, and Smilie. The photo above is the Hopkins Cemetery on Bryce Road. The sign says: “Hopkins Cemetery circa 1794.”
Also within the town are two cemeteries overseen by independent cemetery associations: Jeffersonville Cemetery in Jeffersonville Village and Mountain View Cemetery on Bartlett Hill Road.