Lisbon council raising cemetery, burial fees

LISBON – It will soon cost more to be be buried in the village cemetery following action taken this week by council.

Acting on a recommendation of the cemetery board, council passed on first reading legislation to raise fees for cemetery lots and burials, with the increases likely to take effect July 1.

The increases were recommended by Councilman Joe Morenz, who is chairman of the cemetery committee. He said the cemetery board is asking for the increases mostly because of the decline in revenue resulting from a significant drop in burials. According to figures provided by the cemetery board, the number of burials have declined from 64 as recently as 2009 to 30 last year.

The proposed increases would raise the price of a general cemetery lot from $445 to $600, while the cost of full burial will go from $410 to $600 during weekdays and from $535 to $750 on Saturdays. To get buried on a holiday will cost $1,000, up from $820.

The costs of cremation also will increase, from $195 to $300 for weekday cremation inurnments and $450 on Saturdays, an increase of $150.

Cemetery Board President Barry James was in attendance and said the increases are in line with what is being charged at cemeteries in East Palestine, Calcutta, Salem, Leetonia and East Liverpool. James said the two funeral home operators in town voiced no objections to the proposed rate increases.

Since the legislation does not constitute an emergency, it will require passage on three separate readings, and then become law on the first day of the following month, which officials expect will be July 1 at the earliest.

While on the subject of the cemetery, council voted 5-1 to pay the $1,525 for the services of a pest control company to address a termite problem at the cemetery administration building. The treatments are over two years and already have begun.

Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner pointed out the cemetery board has enough money to cover the expense, but Morenz urged council to pick up the tab.

“I know the cemetery is getting less and less money every year. I know they might have some money in their accounts, but they’re hurting,” he said.

“So are we,” Wonner replied, adding money will be needed to open the community pool for the summer. “Fifteen hundred doesn’t sound like a lot, but these 1,500s add up.”

She recommended splitting the cost with the cemetery board, but council opted to pay the entire cost, with councilman Willis Coleman casting a dissenting vote.