The Orchard City trustees are looking seriously at the possibility of the town taking over the management of the Cory Cemetery District, and also of assuming responsibility for all maintenance and operations of the Cory Cemetery.
The idea was discussed in general terms and at length during the town board's monthly work session on May 1.
Based on that discussion, elements of any final agreement could likely include the following:
• Cory Cemetery District would remain in existence as presently established. It would remain a separate legal entity apart from the town.
• The district would continue to assess an annual ad valorem mill levy to residents of the district.
• The tax money would continue to be collected by the county treasurer and remitted to the district.
• The Delta County Commissioners would appoint a three-member district board of directors comprised of at least a majority of Orchard City town board members who qualify and who would serve on a trustee cemetery committee.
• The district board would be responsible for adopting an annual budget for the cemetery and for filing other state paperwork required for a cemetery district.
• The Town of Orchard City would assume all maintenance and operations for the cemetery.
• In consideration for those services, the cemetery board would write an annual check to the town from the district's property tax and other revenues.
Trustees questioned whether adopting the Cory Cemetery and district might commit it to taking the same action with the Eckert Cemetery and district, if asked to do so at some future time.
Trustee Marsha Thomas opened the discussion at the work session, stating that she believes the town should find a way to take over the cemetery and its operations. The district has been operating without a board since 2010. County Commissioner Bruce Hovde has taken responsibility for budget and operations since that time. Several attempts to find three people to volunteer for six-year terms have failed.
"The cemetery is in an historic part of the town," Thomas said. "But there just aren't very many descendants left from the original families who are buried there."
The cemetery dates back to the earliest European settlement of the Surface Creek Valley. There are "about 500 interments" there now, trustees were told. There were four burials and one cremation there in 2012.
Hovde was present for the town board's discussion and said he endorses the idea of the town assuming responsibility for the cemetery and district.
The cemetery faces some operational problems that the trustees want to evaluate before making a commitment to adopting it. The principle problem is irrigation water. The cemetery is currently watered from a saline ground water well. The salt in the water corrodes pumps, mars and damages headstones, and kills trees.
Bringing ditch water irrigation to the cemetery will require, first of all, getting the water. Second of all it will require some suitable ditch conveyance to get water to the cemetery, and trustees believe that no suitable ditch conveyance currently exists.
According to financial data, the district is a close-to-break-even operation. Property tax receipts were $11,761 in 2012.blog comments powered by Disqus