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Vermont town laments looming cemetery plot shortage

November 18, 2017

HARTFORD, Vt. (AP) — Some people in a Vermont town are worried the community is going to run out of available cemetery plots.

Hartford residents have been considering new strategies to preserve existing cemeteries and make sure the community doesn’t run out of plots where people can rest for eternity.

Five of the 12 cemeteries located within town lines are owned by Hartford, while the others are managed by private associations, the Valley News reported. All of the town-owned cemeteries are closed to new burials.

Ann Collins, 80, of the Quechee Cemetery Association, said that with fewer plot sales, diminished interest earnings and flat town funding, her association has been forced to dip into its endowment to pay operating costs.

“As the older people have died off, the younger generation is not as interested in carrying on,” said Collins, whose parents are buried in one of the cemeteries the association owns.

The association’s budget includes $5,000 annually from the town, interest from an endowment of about $40,000, and $600 each time a burial plot is purchased.

Under Vermont law, if any cemetery association collapses, the town inherits the responsibility of maintaining that cemetery.

“I think it’s going to come to that point,” said Collins. “Eventually, any income is going to run out.”

Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar said the accelerating plight of the private cemetery associations, and concern that the town will run out of burial space, has spurred new interest.

“I’m optimistic there,” Pullar said.

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