Amherst Cemetery Maintenance Finance Committee

To the Editor:

The Amherst Board of Selectmen, along with the Cemetery Trustees and the Trustees of the Trust Funds, wish to update the methods and processes by which cemetery maintenance is funded and supported throughout the town.

To that end, they have agreed that the BOS should launch a seven-person committee to review various categories related to this topic and offer recommendations to the BOS and to the trustees for their consideration as independent governmental units that operate under different sets of RSAs.

The categories encompass:

? Regulations – Gaining clarity about, and adherence to, legal requirements regarding the management and disbursement of related trusts. This effort would focus on understanding the purposes, uses of, status, forms of disbursement and appropriate strategies for managing cemetery trusts – particularly the Putnam, Wilkins, Other, Perpetual Care and the Cemetery Lots Maintenance Trusts.

? Processes – Upgrading and adhering to processes related to the “sale” of plots, burial expense tracking and reimbursement, and the financial management of revenue and expense streams associated with cemetery maintenance. This would include, but not be limited to:

? A review of, and recommendations for, ways to handle finances associated with the granting of rights to inter, including pricing and the split between cemetery trust funds and the town’s general fund.

? Procedures by which Cambridge Trust deposits inflowing funds into appropriate trust and general fund accounts, as well as procedures by which those funds are disbursed.

? Managing finances related to the cost of burials.

? Tracking, apportioning, vouchering and reimbursing the town for cemetery maintenance.

? Financial reconciliation – For identified situations where monies have not been billed, paid or deposited in proper accounts, to reconcile and correct these variances for whatever period is deemed appropriate.

The seven-person committee will include a representative from the BOS, Cemetery Trustees and Trustees of the Trust Funds, the Amherst finance director and three Amherst citizens appointed by the Selectmen. Committee members will be able to access local and state legal counsel per the approval of the BOS chair or town administrator. The BOS hopes to have the committee launched in April with the intent of having the committee present its recommendations before summer.

Any citizen wishing to be considered for a role on the committee should contact Town Administrator Jim O’Mara at jomara@amherstnh.gov no later than April 11. Appointments will be made by the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting on Monday, April 14.

CHAIRMAN DWIGHT BREW, VICE CHAIRMAN BRAD GALINSON, CLERK JOHN D’ANGELO, SELECTMAN THOMAS GRELLA AND SELECTMAN MIKE AKILLIAN

Amherst Board of Selectmen