NORTH ADAMS -- Restoration of Hillside Cemetery will be aided by a $10,000 appropriation from the Tinker Fund, a sum that will be used as "seed money" as the city embarks on a multi-year project to raise toppled gravestones and repair damaged retaining walls.
The City Council approved the appropriation along with another $10,000 in funds from the city's Perpetual Care Fund, which will be used for remediation issues of an old Cemetery Department building at Southview Cemetery and for a new sign at that cemetery.
The approval comes two weeks after Mayor Richard J. Alcombright originally requested the full $20,000 come from the Tinker Fund, a move that Councilor John Barrett III questioned, stating that under the provisions of a trust established by Edward R. Tinker in 1957 the funds could only be used for maintenance and operation of Hillside Cemetery. It was also questioned whether or not the funds were restricted to the Tinker family mausoleum.
Alcombright said Tuesday night that documents found at City Hall, including a copy of the original set-up of the Edward R. Tinker Charitable Trust, along with a 1978 letter from the trustees of the fund, established that the funds could only be used for Hillside Cemetery. A separate fund, administered by St. John's Episcopal Church, now All Saints Episcopal Church, is used to care for the Tinker Plot.
"We see this money being used to raise gravestones and make repairs," he said. "It will be a long-term project, one that was started last year by Roger Eurbin.
The Charitable Trust, which was established in 1957, but not awarded to the 11 named recipients until after the death of Tinker's widow in 1978, allots $4,000 annually to the city for Hillside Cemetery. All Saints receives an annual endowment of $6,000 and North Adams Regional Hospital receives $10,000 annually.
The other eight organizations, which exist in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts receive varying allotments, with the largest going to the Salvation Army headquarters in New York. According to financial records filed by BNY Mellon, a financial institution in Pittsburgh that serves as the account's trustee, the Salvation Army received $143,616 in 2012.
The council also passed a $250,000 borrowing order for required repairs and upgrades mandated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards to a second reading and required that it be published.
Barrett, who voted in favor of the borrowing order, took issue with the fact that the order did not come with a definitive timeline.
"As far as I'm concerned this is definitive," Alcombright said. "We plan to start making these modifications as soon as we receive approval from this council and hope to have all of these items done in a year."
He added, "I'm asking the council to let me borrow this money and let me administrate. Everything we do here doesn't need to take six, eight, or 10 weeks."
Barrett again requested a definitive timeline, saying he wanted a timeline of dates of when things would be completed.
"I'm trying to do my job as a city councilor," he said. "I don't see this as an impediment. I'm trying to force him to get it done by having a definitive time frame."
In other action, the council approved the relocation of a pole on Porter Street by National Grid and approved the appointment of City Administrator Michael Canales to the Hoosac Quality Water District, to finish the final year of the late John Moresi's term.