Once a year the Batavia Union Cemetery board meets in a joint meeting with Batavia Village Council and Batavia Township Trustees. The board met Tuesday, Feb. 2 at the community center in Batavia Township.
An overview of the cemetery board finances was presented by Steve Shinkle, clerk/secretary of the cemetery board. He noted that the cemetery fund was $250 in the red in 2008, but since implementing a new program, the fund is now more than $6,000 to the good.
“We have started a new program,” said Shinkle. “We now require families to put down a headstone deposit and we give them six months to get a headstone in place.”
"With the clearing of the trees, we have started our expansion and will have an additional 764 burial plots available," said Shinkle. "Even more revenue is expected as we sell those lots."
Shinkle also noted that a project is in the works to locate gravesites of all Civil War veterans and furnish markers for those graves. He said that a future project will be to locate Revolutionary War veterans buried in the cemetery.
"I served on the cemetery board for three years and enjoyed working with all the members of the board," said Lee Cornett.
Trustee Archie Wilson will serve as the representative from Batavia Township. John Waite and Kathy Turner are the representatives from Batavia Council serving on the board.
Waite showed the trustees the boundaries of the cemetery and introduced Mrs. Hatfield. Her land borders the cemetery and she expressed concerns that the cemetery land was within 14 feet of her patio. With the expansion planned, she was concerned that graves would be sold in close proximity to her home.
"I would like to be able to purchase land from the cemetery, but can't afford it right now," said Hatfield.
Waite suggested that the cemetery board not sell lots closest to her home until later. He said that having grave sites so close to the property line would possibly devalue her home.
"I would suggest that the board offer to sell her and the other neighbors 10 - 15 feet of the cemetery land at a later date," said Waite. "We need a general statement of intent from the trustees and council members that they will not sell lots close to the residential area and I'd like to see this reflected in the minutes of the meeting."
An agreement was reached by the cemetery board that property owners would be contacted before the sale of lots closest to their property, giving them an opportunity to purchase land from the cemetery.
The next Batavia Union Cemetery board meeting will be held during the first Batavia council meeting of February 2011 in Batavia council chambers.