Debate continues in Roseboro between the town board and a member of the town’s cemetery committee over the board’s previous decision to place lights in the cemetery and members’ stance concerning graves with no permanent markers.
Dino Williams, a member of the Roseboro cemetery committee, came forward during Tuesday night’s town meeting, calling the board’s previous decision to light the cemetery “ridiculous.”
Williams asked the board if they had crunched the numbers to see how much the cemetery lights would cost.
“I figured it and two lights, the two poles and the electricity, is going to cost $259. 92 a year,” said Williams. “Who’s going to pay for that?”
“You’re going to pay Progress Energy,” continued Williams, claiming that the expense could lead to budget cuts.
Commissioner Alice Butler responded that the board was aware of the cost of the lights, adding that she had proof of their consideration in her notes.
“We didn’t go into this blind. We knew it was going to cost,” said Butler. “Everything [with the cemetery lights] has been put on hold for now anyway.”
When contacted later for follow up questions, town clerk Amanda Beatty explained that the reason for the hold is because the town board has not yet fully decided whether they are actually going to go through with lighting the cemetery or not. Even if members do decide in favor of the lights, the question of how many lights to place in the cemetery is still being discussed.
According to Williams, the move to place lights in the cemetery should be put on hold as there are other issues with the cemetery that are more important and need to be addressed first. “There are 10 graves out there [in the Snow Hill cemetery] that people don’t know who’s buried there.”
Williams shared that the metal grave markers placed on the graves do not last because those mowing the grass in the cemetery hit the markers with their lawn mowers, “flinging the markers into the field.”
“This has been going on for quite a while,” noted Williams, who has shared his concerns with the board during town meetings before.
After suggesting that the town deal with the problem by purchasing small, concrete markers and placing them flat in the ground, commissioner Butler responded, “But it’s not the town’s responsibility to put markers there; it’s the family’s responsibility.”
“Once the [grave] plot is sold, then it’s not the town’s anymore,” continued Butler.
Williams pointed out that some families cannot afford a headstone for a loved one’s grave.
Commissioner Anthony Bennett jumped in, saying that he understood where Williams was coming from but he also understood Butler’s point.
Bennett asked if Williams had figured the cost of placing permanent markers on the now unmarked graves.
Williams answered that he had talked with a man in Clinton who makes headstones and said that the permanent markers would probably cost around $10 a piece.
Although the board again brought up that the town was not responsible, Bennett, wanting to know a more definite price, asked Williams to “get us a price for the markers … we will take it all into consideration.”
During the exchange, Butler also encouraged Williams and the rest of the cemetery committee to work together. “There are three of you on the cemetery committee,” noted Butler, adding that until recently many of the town commissioners were not aware that there even was a cemetery committee. “You all need to come together as a committee and make a proposal to us.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.