Outrage in Walton over the state of the cemetery

Above: A video clip of the meeting of the Walton Cemetery Association on June 6, shot by the Walton Reporter and posted on Facebook.

Outraged over what they called the poor condition of the Walton Cemetery over Memorial Day weekend, dozens of cemetery plotholders protested at the annual meeting of the Walton Cemetery Association on Monday, June 6, according to the Walton Reporter.

Then they expressed their anger by voting out three of the association’s incumbent board members in the annual election that followed the meeting, the paper reported.

The meeting was full of shouting and finger pointing, according to the Reporter's Lillian Browne, who reported last week that the angry plotholders blamed the association’s board of trustees for not maintaining staff to take care of the grounds.

The cemetery hadn’t been mowed for nine days before Memorial Day weekend, the paper reports, which many in the room said “resulted in a show of disrespect to both the families who visited the cemetery over the holiday weekend and the veterans and others buried there.”

The board’s vice president, Curt VanBuren, said that the cemetery’s finances have been in dire straits, which forced the board to hire a landscaping service to mow the grounds every two weeks, according to the Reporter.

Brendon Stanton, an investigator with the New York State Division of Cemeteries, was present at the meeting. He had received a complaint about the state of the cemetery, the paper reports, but disagreed that the cemetery was in bad shape.

"I didn't think it looked bad at all,” he reportedly told the crowd, adding that, of the 408 cemeteries that fall under his jurisdiction, the “Walton Cemetery is easily in the top 30 percent of those that are best cared for.”

At the end of meeting, a majority of the cemetery’s plotholders voted to oust three incumbent members of the board by wide margins, according to the Reporter.