6 Tri-State townships asking for a levy to fund cemetery maintenance | Local News – WLWT Home

6 Tri-State townships asking for a levy to fund cemetery maintenance | Local News – WLWT Home.


Passage of Ohio House Bill 576 would be of help with funding maintenance for township cemeteries in Ohio

“Ohio House Bill 576 – A Step in the Right Direction for Funding Maintenance Expenses at Township Cemeteries”



Ohio House Bill 576 — “To amend section 5705.19 of the Revised Code to lengthen the maximum term of a property tax levied for the purpose of operating a cemetery.”


From Heidi M. Fought of the Ohio Township Association (OTA):

“The bill will allow townships to place upon the ballot a request for a continuous levy as opposed to just a 5 year levy.  The OTA supports this legislation and worked with the sponsor before introduction.  We are hoping to get this bill out during lame duck this fall and if not, passed next spring.” 

The benefit to a township would be that they wouldn’t have to go back to the ballot every 5 years to renew a cemetery levy.  It would simply  be a continuous levy.  That is all the bill does.  We like it because cemetery maintenance is a mandated responsibility and so this provides a stable source of revenue should a township seek to put on this type of levy.”

“If this bill should pass, a township would have the option of placing a 5 year OR continuous levy on the ballot.  If the bill doesn’t pass, a township would still have the ability to place a 5 year levy on the ballot.”
Heidi M. Fought
Director of Governmental Affairs
Ohio Township Association
6500 Taylor Road, Suite A
Blacklick, OH 43004
(614) 863-0045
(614) 863-9751 Fax

Reminder: Tomorrow, October 18, 2014 is Find A Grave’s “Global Cemetery Meet Up Day”

If you are a member of “Find A Grave” then you may already be aware that tomorrow, October 18, 2014, is its “Global Cemetery Meet Up Day

Excerpted from “Find A Grave”:

“Do your part for history. 

Help preserve your local cemetery.

Attend this special event or plan one of your own. 

Visit a cemetery in need to take photographs and videos of headstones, explore the grounds, and share stories and discoveries with others who want to make a difference. 

With your thoughtful contributions, history will never be forgotten.”

“Use #FGDay to post your pictures and videos to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.”

Read through the steps to learn how to participate

There are 113 “Find A Grave” communities listed.  

“Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force – Task Force Report & Recommendation – 29 September 2014” ~~ & Offering My Thoughts

The Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force committee has now concluded their year of monthly meetings reviewing the topic of the Ohio Revised Codes that pertain to Ohio’s cemeteries.  

The task force’s entire report is now posted on the Department of Real Estate’s website

Click HERE to link directly to their report and recommendations.

The report includes a listing of the dates of the monthly meeting schedule,scanned in copies of the monthly meeting minutes (draft versions) and testimonies from those who attended meetings and presented them on behalf of organizations they represented, and the names of the task force members and the organizations they represented.

The Remaining Major Categories (from the “Executive Summary”):

Executive Summary

Task Force Mandate, Mission and Vision

Task Force Process Overview

Stakeholders Represented and Statements Given

Recommendations for Legislative Initiatives



 The statement below is excerpted from the “Executive Summary”:

“Task Force members were as diverse as the stakeholders that provided insightful information on the past, present, and future of cemeteries. During the many multifaceted discussions held by the Task Force one tenet became clear and was a driving force in the meetings: All burial sites and human remains, regardless of historic period or culture, deserve the same level of protection and respect. In following that tenet this report was crafted.”

Below is a further break down from Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force’s Report – Page 3:

“During discussions, central categories were identified and then used as a guide for deliberations”:

1) Definitions

2) Preservation and Protection

3) Registration, Record Keeping and Technology

4) Maintenance

5) Enforcement

6) Funding

7) Statutory Alignment

8) Protected Groups


   Excerpted from the Task Force Report – Page 15:

“4. The Task Force considered the feasibility of defining “inactive” cemeteries and requiring a registration process; however, it was determined that this could be problematic for lack of interested parties with sufficient interest to pay fees or be responsible for registration under existing  codes or rules.”


My written testimony submitted February 2, 2014:

From: Linda Jean Limes Ellis

Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2014 4:52 PM

To: Petit, Anne; corynoonan12@gmail.com

Subject: RE: Exploring almost forgotten gravesites in Ohio

To Anne and Cory,

I am writing to you both, as co-chairs of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force, on behalf of Ohio’s inactive and abandoned cemeteries.

Ohio’s earliest cemeteries have become the state’s most endangered burial grounds due to their age.  So many have fallen victim to vandalism, and neglect of care to the point that they are hardly recognizable as cemeteries today.

Unfortunately,  inactive and abandoned cemeteries are not granted the same status as active cemeteries and are not registered in Ohio under the current laws.  As I am sure you both know, complaints can only be filed to the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission regarding registered cemeteries; which leaves the rest of Ohio’s cemeteries out of the process. Surely, changes can be made to include them as well so all of Ohio’s cemeteries are afforded the same protection.

Too much Ohio history has been lost and what is left needs to be preserved and saved.

Thank you for reading my message.  I appreciate your consideration of my appeal on behalf of Ohio’s inactive and abandoned cemeteries for the reasons cited above.

I would be pleased to hear from you.  I wish you both and the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force great success with its work and ultimate recommendations.


Linda Ellis


My Thoughts:

Thus, I am indeed saddened to know that, in the end, the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force members were not able to agree to conclude their work by adhering to their stated tenent that “All burial sites and human remains, regardless of historic period or culture, deserve the same level of protection and respect. “  

Their report did not include any recommendation to Ohio’s Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House, and the Ohio General Assembly, to recognize that inactive cemeteries need to be registered, just as active ones are registered, which would ensure that all of Ohio’s cemeteries are at the same level of importance for such purposes as providing protection which includes the filing of official complaints against those who have neglected them, and restoring respect to the gravesites of the Buckeye state’s earliest pioneers that have for too long been lost and forgotten.

Please, Keep Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in Ohio, keep photographing gravestones, keep transcribing gravestone inscriptions and epitaphs, and keep documenting the historical facts about the lives of those who are buried at the cemeteries you visit.  Your efforts are appreciated, and your work will live on despite the defeat that inactive cemeteries have once again suffered to gain equal status with their active counterparts.  

Thank you.   

When a Cemetery is Reborn: A Happy Ending For Old Greencastle Cemetery

Congratulations on a resounding success at achieving a rebirth at the Greencastle Cemetery. It shows just how folks working together can accomplish so much and inspires others to follow your lead.

Adventures in Cemetery Hopping

Some of you may remember the blog posts I wrote about Old Greencastle Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. The first one (“When a Cemetery Dies”) was about my visit there in 2012 to try to find the graves of my great-great-grandparents, Samuel and Margaret Grice. I never did find them and the place was in very bad shape, except for the area dedicated to veterans.

This is what Old Greencastle Cemetery looked like when I visited in 2012. I had no idea that everything was about to change. This is what Old Greencastle Cemetery looked like when I visited in 2012. I had no idea that everything was about to change for the better.

The second post was about a year ago when I learned that a lot had been happening at Old Greencastle to bring it back to its former glory. I was cautiously optimistic that the changes were of a permanent nature. Having seen old cemeteries get cleaned up only to slide back into ruin, I was afraid to get my hopes…

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