Gone: Town not liable for missing cemetery stone

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Apparently, a ground marker stone in the Naples Town Cemetery is gone. And, the family approached the town, through a letter to the local selectmen, requesting that the town replace it.

“It was ground marker stone from a family that has been generations in this community,” according to Selectman Bob Caron II.

The topic — stolen cemetery stone — was on the agenda under new business during the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday.

“I think what was being asked of us is: are we going to replace it? The ordinance is clear that we don’t replace the stones,” Chairman Jim Grattelo said.

Essentially, because of the ordinance, the solution might not be as easy as budgeting more money for cemetery maintenance

“We would have to draft a new ordinance,” Grattelo said.

The chairman looked around and asked board member if something similar this had ever occurred. Caron answered it was “first time someone came to the board and asked” to have a cemetery stone replaced.

Selectman Rich Cebra spoke, reading the ordinance aloud.

“It is not the town’s responsibility,” he said.

“The care of the area is limited,” he said.

The board did not make any motions to approve money for the town cemetery or purchase a replacement stone.

“This is really a budget item,” Grattelo said.

“It is my understanding that there was money” for repairing cemetery stones, Grattelo said.

Before former Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak left, during the current fiscal year, $8,000 to $10,000 was set aside and subsequently spent on the cemetery.

“That fund did exist. There was considerable amount of money in that fund. The money was spent this summer,” Grattelo said.

“The individual that was fixing the stones has spent what was allotted in budget,” he said.

“I would simply say that be part of the budget process, when the budget is being put together,” he said.

Caron said “$1,500 was approved at this Town Meeting and put in again.”

Grattelo said that request is likely to increase this budget year.

“Normally, instead of putting $1,500 a year in it, they want $2,000 or $2,500” for repairs, Grattelo said.

Naples resident Buzz Morton said the repairs to headstones were decent but could have been better by using epoxy instead of cement.

Selectman Jim Turpin asked for the location of a business that makes cemetery stones so that he could get cost estimates on repairs.

Turpin also said it would work well if the budget committee was reminded of the cemetery maintenance costs when that committee starts meeting again.

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