Changes proposed for Candia cemetery, building upkeep
CANDIA — In order to better preserve the Smyth Memorial Building and the town’s seven cemeteries, Selectman Carleton Robie proposed during Monday night’s board meeting that the town look into creating two new boards of trustees to oversee them.
While the town has a board of trustees for the cemeteries, the board consists of the five members of the Board of Selectmen, who are all automatically named as trustees.
“I talked to Linda Maxwell (Fitts Museum Board of Trustees) and she said the museum runs better with a dedicated board of trustees. We have trustees who run the library, Fitts Museum and trust fund and they are all voted in and do a good job,” Robie said.
The Smyth Memorial Building, which served as the town’s first library in the 1800s and is on the state register of historic places, is worth saving Robie said.
“It is a beautiful building, it is a keepsake we need to pay attention to,” Robie said.
He added that while the board of selectmen is responsible for both the cemeteries and the Smyth building, it is one of many responsibilities of the selectmen, and not something they might even necessarily be interested in.
“As selectmen we have different interests, but with trustees you can be pretty certain you would be getting people interested,” Robie said.
In order to get the two board of trustees going, Robie said voters would have to approve their creation through a warrant article. He added that if a Smyth Building Board of Trustees were created, it would be prudent to give them a small stipend to start out with.
“There would be a long process before this goes to ballot, there (is) lots of opinion and discussion left,” Select Board member Amanda Soares said during the meeting.
Soares said that last year voters rejected a warrant article for $160,000 to be spent on the Smyth building, and that she voted against putting $10,000 in the budget for repairs to the building at the previous meeting.
“I don’t like putting it in the budget,” she said.
“But the board obviously did,” Robie responded.
The board added $10,000 to the proposed budget.
Currently the Smyth building has roughly $4,000 a year budgeted for its upkeep, but that is only enough to keep the lights and heat on and grass mowed, Robie said. In order to preserve the building, money needs to be spent on replacing the windows. For functionality, Robie said he would like to see a bathroom and septic system added.
“To get anything done we would need money to start with,” Robie said.
Those in attendance at the meeting Monday night seemed to think Robie’s idea is a good one.
“I think that Carelton hit on a good idea, I know Amanda (Soares) is concerned about money but you better do something about the windows up there, they are in bad shape,” resident Dean Young said.
Barbara Bowman agreed that Robie’s plan was a good one, and suggested that instead of putting a general amount of money up on a warrant article for repairs, putting a smaller amount that is more specific might be the way to go.
“I think the way (the board) is going about it is good, I don’t think the town will have any issue with the $10,000 like they did with the $160,000. I think if they do it a piece at a time they will get what they want,” Frank Reczkowski said.