Members of the Board of Trustees were hurt and insulted by a recent letter from Fred and Lola Osmun that criticized the Cuba Cemetery.
The Cuba Cemetery is three to five times larger than other local cemeteries and it’s on hilly terrain with many older trees and shrubs. Just preparing for mowing in the spring takes many hours. Once mowing and trimming begins, it is an endless cycle of work in the many sections.
Besides all other obstacles, the weather plays a significant role in maintenance.
The gentleman we hired has worked for the past four years and has not received a raise as he understands our financial situation. He also must provide his own equipment, insurance and gas. He also helps prepare graves for burial. If he needs additional help to undertake this role he pays for it under his contract. There are no additional charges to the cemetery.
Our secretary/treasurer does all the necessary paperwork, accounting and corresponds regularly with the state and the town of Cuba to insure our compliance to regulations and receives a small stipend.
Besides the normal cost of maintenance we have paid to remove more than ten aging trees in the past five years. The Town of Cuba assists with brush removal and grading roadways. The Village of Cuba installed new water lines donated as a memorial gift. The veterans’ organizations honor those who served by placing markers and flags on their graves.
Keeping in mind the responsibility of the lot owners to maintain their individual and/or familial graves, we are fortunate to have many people dedicated to the betterment of the Cuba Cemetery.
One board member lays out graves, picks up brush and garbage, lends personal equipment and deals with families’ concerns.
Another spent months developing a computer program from old maps and records listing each person by grave and location.
Yet another has donated personal equipment and spent hours with Southern Tier West setting up a system for easy access to our cemetery and location of graves using drones and video for those not familiar with our area.
The cemetery funds have been stretched thin for many years but this year has been especially difficult. Although there once was a large donation, it stipulated that we could only access the interest on that account. With decreasing interest rates we must rely on financial help from the Town of Cuba and from individual donations.
To date in 2020 we have only received 4% of the average amount in donations. The only other sources of income are the sale of lots and burial fees.
It is our hope that the cemetery will not have to be taken over by the Town of Cuba whose resources are also stretched to the limit.
The board members are proud of the historic Cuba Cemetery and the people working to ensure its independence.
Mark Rinker, Mary Swift, Brad Spink, Kathy Chamberlain, Kay Adams, Jerry Scott and Tom Taylor