The condition of the Lake Township Cemetery, including its finances, came up for discussion Tuesday after a resident told township trustees she saw grass left untrimmed around many headstones .
Marge Willman said she was dismayed during a recent visit to the cemetery on Walbridge Road to see some headstones obscured from view by tall grass.
Melanie Bowen, who chairs the board of trustees, said the board hasn’t hired seasonal help for the 40-acre cemetery as an austerity measure.
Currently, only the cemetery sexton and a full-time worker handle maintenance responsibilities, she said, noting in years past the trustees hired as many as five seasonal employees before state revenues to local governments were cut.
The township doesn’t have a property tax levy to generate revenues for cemetery costs – instead relying on grave plot sales and burial fees.
Vicki Schwamberger, township fiscal officer, said the township budgeted $160,000 this year for cemetery costs but as of May 31 there was a balance of about $29,000 in the fund.
Bowen said the township has also been buying back about four or five grave plots on average a month as owners move from the township or opt to be cremated or not buried at the cemetery.
Richard Welling, a trustee, said the sexton can ask for maintenance help from personnel in the road and parks departments but those departments are also stretched thin.
The trustees can tap into the general fund to meet cemetery expenses, Bowen said, but view that as a last resort. State law only requires townships to mow cemetery properties twice a year.
“We’d never let it get to that point,” she said. “But that’s our responsibility as a township.”
Trustee Ron Sims told Willman he’s seen several cemeteries in worse condition than the township cemetery but agreed it “doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago.”
In other business, the trustees agreed to accept a grant of $40,966 from the Ohio Department of Transportation upgrade road signs in the township.
The trustees also approved an agreement with the Lucas County Board of Commissioners to use the county’s 800 megahertz radio system’s infrastructure.
The township will pay a fee of $15 per month for each radio used by the police department.