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By LORRIE KINKADE
The Trimble Banner
Following a decision last week to purchase the Bedford I.O.O.F. cemetery, city commissioners have begun considering related operational issues.
The Bedford City Commission agreed during a special meeting June 16 to accept an offer in May from the International Order of Odd Fellows to buy the 60-year-old cemetery on the outskirts of town for $1.
The organization approached the commission with the offer because the local I.O.O.F. lodge had disbanded because of dwindling membership and unsuccessful recruitment efforts.
City commissioners were given first chance to purchase the land, which lies on both sides of U.S. 42 near the city limits and includes approximately 1,000 available plots. Plots sell for $500 each, and the cemetery comes with $70,000 in perpetual-care funds, held primarily in certificates of deposit.
There are no outstanding legal claims against the cemetery, nor are there any liens on the property, the commission was told.
The decision to buy the cemetery was unanimous. Now, commissioners and city attorney Genon Hensley are working through the legalities of ownership and the day-to-day operations.
Details of the sale were finalized at Monday's meeting between the commissioners and Ross Webb, the I.O.O.F.’s Kentucky Grand Warden. The sale is expected to be completed by September.
Commissioners agreed that David and Twila Jennings, former members of the Bedford Lodge, will continue maintenance of the cemetery, handle plot sales, opening and closing of graves, and keeping its records. The Jenningses have been caring for the cemetery for more than a decade.
Hensley recommended appointing an oversight board to handle many of the issues typically related to cemetery ownership. The board would, in turn, bring more complex issues before the city commission.
“This could be time consuming,” she said. “You might want at least one commissioner and a couple other people available to take care of most things.”
The commission made no decision to appoint a board, but will discuss the topic further at its next meeting, 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, at the Morgan Community Center.