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Houlton’s Evergreen Cemetery will soon go digital

HOULTON, Maine — Those interested in finding out where an ancestor’s final resting spot is located will soon be able to search those records online.

The Houlton Town Council unanimously approved digitizing its cemetery records for Evergreen Cemetery during Monday night’s regular council meeting.

At a cost of $20,000, Houlton Town Manager Marian Anderson said she felt the project was worthwhile because so many people use the town’s website to review its online property tax maps.

“It is part of our effort moving forward to make these records available on the town website,” Anderson said. “This will also mainstream the process, so people are applying for and paying for (cemetery plots) at the town office. This will improve the services for our citizens.”

The project of digitizing the town’s cemetery records first began this past summer when intern Keegan Gentle took all of the data from 3×5 index cards and entered them into an electronic spreadsheet.

Anderson said she anticipated the new service would be online by the spring of 2023.

In addition to the one-time fee to digitize the information, there will also be an annual expense to maintain the cemetery’s online presence, Anderson said. She did not have the exact amount of what that annual fee would be, but said the cost would also come from the Cemetery Trust Fund.

The town plans to keep the current hand-written interment cards, many of which date back to the early 1950s, for historical purposes.

In other agenda items, the council approved purchasing replacement industrial air filters for the vehicle bay at the Houlton Fire Department. At a cost of $11,145, the filters are used to remove impurities from the garage bay where the town’s fire trucks and ambulances are kept.

The cost for the filters will come from the town’s Undesignated Fund Balance.

The board also approved the purchase of a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD pickup truck for the town’s Public Works Department from Quirk Auto Group. The town had approved the purchase of a similar truck from Yorks of Houlton, but the dealership was not able to provide the vehicle due to supply chain issues.

Councilors also approved liquor and victualer licenses for Lori Spaulding, doing business as Handlebar Saloon, at 28 Market Square. The location previously served as the Step in Time restaurant.

Houlton’s next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, in the town council chambers.

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