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Digging Up the Cemetery Fund

The Board of Selectmen unanimously approves a decision to hand over funds in a "Cemetery Fund" bequeathed to the town over 40 years ago.

The town of Wilton doesn't employ any gravediggers but, as it turns out, they probably could have afforded to do so, at least for a few days.

Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church has Wilton Controller Rich McArdle to thank for unearthing a "Cemetery Fund" among the town's holdings, which will likely be handed over to church officials in the coming days. The money was bequeathed to the town well over 40 years ago and, from what McArdle can tell, it was either forgotten about or just never used.

"I don't know if some of it has been spent over the years," McArdle said. "But as far back as I can go in the general ledgers, it looks like it's just been accruing interest."

The gift of $100 was originally made in 1962 by Lilias W. Selleck, who directed the bequest to care for the A.C. Olmstead Plot in Saint Matthew's Cemetery, which abuts the Town Hall property. In 48 years since then, the bequest has doubled in size to a whopping $200.28.

According to McArdle and Wilton CFO Sandra Dennies, the town actually has no jurisdiction over St. Matthew's Cemetery and, thus, it made sense to consider giving the money to someone who does (and it also may help explain why the funds were never used).

So on Monday, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a motion to turn the funds over to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. McArdle said he had already been in touch with St. Matthew's and was waiting on word from their officials as to how to go about transferring the funds over to them.

Now if only the town could unearth a few other, more sizable rainy day funds to help offset declining interest and building permit-related revenue.

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