The Delaware Division of Public Health recently reminded property owners that funding is available to support the small and older cemeteries.

The Delaware Division of Public Health recently reminded property owners that funding is available to support the small and older cemeteries that often lack the funds for long-term care and maintenance.

The Distressed Cemetery Fund was established in 2009 to provide for the preservation of cemeteries by supporting repair and improvement projects that are outside normal maintenance activities. Cemeteries must be registered before they can apply for Distressed Cemetery Funds.

The fund, which is overseen by the Delaware Cemetery Board, is maintained by receiving $2 from every death certificate sold and registration fees. Individuals and organizations also can make contributions or bequests to the Distressed Cemetery Fund. The maximum amount available from the fund to each cemetery is $10,000 every two years, but a financial assistance request must be matched with real dollars and/or documented volunteer hours.

Applications must be submitted two weeks before a scheduled board meeting, along with pictures of the area needing repairs, financial information, a small scale map and three written vendor quotes. By receiving funds, the applicant must agree to erect a sign, if none exist, with the cemetery name and contact telephone number in case of an emergency or vandalism.

A written closeout report is required six months after the receipt of the award, along with pictures of the work completed, canceled checks to the vendor and vendor invoices paid. In the past, funds were used to repair tombstones/monuments, repair or replace fences/stonewalls/gates, landscaping, remove trees and brush, purchase or repair lawn equipment, purchase sheds, topsoil and seeding, conducting of perimeter surveys and plot plans.

In fiscal 2016, seven cemeteries received awards totaling $62,437.50. Funds were used to repair and restore tombstones, fences, stone walls and gates and remove trees and brush. The seven cemeteries are: Hartly United Methodist Church Cemetery, Little Creek Friends Burial Ground, Montgomery Family Cemetery, Mt. Zion Cemetery, Riverview Cemetery, Sailors Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery and Wilmington & Brandywine Cemetery

The next Delaware Cemetery Board meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Modern Maturity Center, East Conference Room, 1121 Forrest Ave., Dover. For more information, visit egov.delaware.gov/pmc.