Residents consider options for cemetery
TYRONE—A group of 24 people gathered Thursday, Aug. 8, to discuss how to pursue gathering records about the Wayne Village Cemetery and how to have the property maintained better.
Currently, the cemetery is mowed by the town of Tyrone because it was previously abandoned and falls in the Tyrone limits. Supervisor Gary Jackson said Tyrone is responsible for mowing the property a minimum of three times a year. In July, residents presented the town board with a petition signed by 219 people asking for an audit of the cemetery records by Tyrone, the New York State Comptroller’s Office, and Attorney General’s Office.
Organizer Richard Little said the group’s plan is to follow through with the requests, try and gather records about the cemetery, and if needed take some sort of legal action. Before that final option, he said they need to gather what information is available. Little told the people present that they should continue to attend the town meetings, get more signatures, and contact elected officials.
One end result the organizers talked about was filing an article 78. Resident Alan Hurley explained this means the group would have a judge weigh in and make a decision about who is responsible for maintenance. He explained, “you have to be very certain you want the court to answer the question.”
Not everyone at the meeting was in favor of the group’s goals. Residents Deb and Larry Brooks, who help maintain the Altay cemetery, said they didn’t want to increase taxes by having Tyrone do more maintenance at the Wayne cemetery. Deb Brooks said, “we use our own gas, weed eaters.” Despite the lack of funds, she said community members take care of their cemetery. She added families who buried loved ones in Altay paid a one-time cost of $25 “for life” to have the property maintained.
“Give the 200 people (who signed the petition) a weed eater,” Larry Brooks said about taking care of the Wayne Village Cemetery. “As far as I’m concerned it looks good.”
Both approved when the group’s organizers said they didn’t want to rush things. Little added one of the issues is that community members are not allowed to mow the cemetery because of liability issues. Little said he is not legally allowed as it is the town’s responsibility. He also added state law requires the property to be fenced in, which it is not.
“We need guidance from the town,” said Little. At the July board meeting, Jackson did tell the concerned citizens they could form a new cemetery association to take over the property.