North Adams Cemetery Commission Advising Fee Hikes

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Cemetery Commission is recommending the city raise grave lot fees $100 and up and perpetual care fees $25 and up.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Cemetery Commission on Tuesday approved recommendations for increased grave lot fees and perpetual care.

Chairman Paul Arabia said the raised fees will create much needed revenue for the cemeteries, which means the city will need less to maintain them.

"What I think needs to be accomplished here in doing this is to recognize the extra revenue for the city in the sale of the lots, but not add an extreme expense to the residents in North Adams," Arabia said. "We need to expedite this because it is going to increase revenue considerably, but not on the backs of the public."

The fees have not been raised in years.

Arabia said that without the increased fees, selling the lots in the new B-3 section would raise $72,240 in revenue. With the new fees, this amount will be closer to $122,000.

For residents, a single grave lot will cost a total of $400. This is a $100 increase in the lot sale and another $25 in perpetual care. A double lot will now cost $850, with a $200 increase in the lot sale and $50 in perpetual care. Four grave lots will be $1,700, up $400 with $100 in perpetual care.

The commission also recommended changes to non-resident lot fees. A single lot will now cost $900, up $300, and a $200 increase in perpetual care. Double lots will be $1,500, up $400 and a $100 increase in perpetual care; four lots will be $3,000, a $900 increase in lot price and $100 in perpetual care.

The commission agreed that the increases were modest. Commissioner Roger Eurbin said the new prices are lower than Adams and Williamstown.

The City Council must pass the new recommended fees before they are implemented.

The commission also discussed better and more appropriate signage for Southview Cemetery. Arabia said he would like the new sign to clearly display the rules and regulations of the cemetery. He added that he would also like to improve funeral route signs and section signs.

"I think we need to make everything uniform and connected," he said. "We need something that is appropriate and classy."

Clear rules and regulations for the cemeteries have always been a murky subject with cemetery visitors. Arabia said people often leave garbage or plant flowers around grave sites.

"What has happened over the years with a lot of the rules and regulations, there was never any implementation," he said. "When we do these rules and regulations, we need to make sure when someone comes in to buy a lot we give them a set of rules so they know."

The commission agreed that trash and things left on cemetery grounds is also an ongoing issue. Eurbin said he has talked to the mayor about possibly placing receptacles on the grounds.

"If they are there, people might use them rather than just leave stuff on the side of the road," Eurbin said.

Arabia said people have just left their trash near the water faucets found throughout the cemetery since he was a kid. He said this needs to stop.

"We have to get away from this 1950s mentality of taking your urn and dumping it in on the ground," he said. "It's 2014. Have a little courtesy, but again we have to get that out to the public."

Tags: cemetery,   cemetery commission,   fees,   

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