A small symptom of the current financial environment reared its head at Monday’s Subsequent Town Meeting.
The subject? Flowers for veterans’ graves.
Bill Brown, a member of the Veterans Fund Committee, presented article 10 at the meeting asking for an amendment to allow the trust fund board to use donated funds immediately instead of being required to add them to the trust.
Brown said that the committee, formed in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, had originally aimed to raise $80,000 with the intent to use the interest from those funds to pay for flowers on veterans’ graves in town.
Despite the founders’ ambitions, Brown said, the board was only able to raise $53,000.
“[And,] as well all know, the interest rates have tanked,” Brown said.
As a result, Brown said, the trust fund interest currently only pays for 60 to 70 percent of the cost of the flowers. The rest has to come out of the fund’s coffers directly—which, in turn, lowers the interest produced.
And, he said, the trust fund’s initial bylaws prevented the board from taking any more than a quarter of new donations and applying them to the immediate cost of the flowers.
With that in mind, he asked Town Meeting to give the trust fund a little flexibility with new donations while keeping the core of the fund in place. The assembly agreed, and the committee will now be able to use any donations made next year or later immediately.
The board will also, of course, still be able to apply new donations to the trust.