Cemetery rates up sharply
DUNDEE—As of June 1, the village of Dundee will increase their charges for service at the Hillside Cemetery, more than doubling the cost for some services. In addition to increasing the rates, the village also changed the terms for pricing village residents and non-residents to village taxpayers and non-taxpayers.
The previous rates adopted in August of 2008 priced a cemetery plot for a village resident at $300. The price was $400 for a non-resident. Now, after the increases, a cemetery plot costs $600 for a village taxpayer and $850 for a non-taxpayer.
Cremation burials also saw an increase, going from $150 for a village resident and $200 for a non-resident to $300 for each. Dundee Mayor Fred Cratsley Jr. said 73 percent of the cemetery is occupied by people who are not village residents, but added 100 percent of the maintenance cost falls on the village taxpayers. He said the annual maintenance cost can amount to $30,000 per year. Cratsley said the village compared their rates to other municipalities including Penn Yan and Watkins Glen in order to make them more similar.
“It is not a business, but it is difficult to justify to the residents paying for the maintenance when it is being used by non-taxpayers,” Cratsley said.
Cratsley said the maintenance cost is 10 percent of the tax levy, adding with so many outside residents using the cemetery, it takes away from current residents and taxpayers from being able to use the cemetery. However, not all residents agree with the increase.
“I just don’t like the price increase,” resident Dean Schuler said. “Let’s face it, when people around here die, they don’t have enough money to do that kind of stuff as it is.”
Baird Funeral Home Manager Baird Booth said while he approves of the change from village resident to village taxpayer, he believes the village should not have waited so long to increase the charges. He said if it were done incrementally each year, it could have avoided the sticker shock associated with such a large increase. Booth said he prearranges funerals, and now that the costs have doubled, it puts him in a “predicament” when the costs doubled after a family has already paid in full for a service before the rate changes. He said people are more likely to go to Wayne or Rock Stream for their cemeteries now, adding if Dundee were part of the New York State Cemetery Association, these sudden charge increases would most likely not have been approved.