Sinking graves, damaged headstones prompt city to increase cemetery fees for improvements

St. George City Cemetery, St. George, Utah, Sept. 22, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The aging St. George City Cemetery will begin seeing incremental improvements as issues like sinking grave sites and water-damaged headstones are addressed.

A headstone at the St. George City Cemetery shows signs of water staining, St. George, Utah, Sept. 22, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

In order to fund the improvements, the St. George City Council voted Thursday to increase some cemetery fees.

One-time plot fees and perpetual care fees will each increase by $100 at both the St. George City and Tonaquint cemeteries.

“This is not excessive and it is certainly in keeping with what we see in surrounding communities, and it really is fair,” Councilman Ed Baca said of the fee hike.

Mayor Jon Pike said the price is comparable with surrounding communities.

“Our staff has done a comparison,” he said, “and I think we’re still very reasonable.”

The fee increase will help provide the labor, tools, supplies and materials necessary to perform essential maintenance like raising collapsing monuments and markers and leveling collapsing gravesites.

Headstones at the St. George City Cemetery show signs of water staining, St. George, Utah, Sept. 22, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“That would provide approximately $70,000 per year,” St. George City Leisure Services director Shane McAffee said of the revenue projected to be generated by the fee increase, “which would help us to take care of that.”

However, the fee increase only goes so far in addressing the cemeteries’ need for elevated standards of upkeep.

“Some other things that we discussed that won’t be taken care of by the fee increase,” McAffee said, “is the need to go ahead and look at switching the Virgin River water to culinary water because of the damage being done to headstones and the damage to the trees that are dying in the cemetery.”


Read more: City addresses grave concerns, cremains facilities at St. George cemeteries


Further improvements under consideration for the St. George City Cemetery include a fence around the property and installation of an information kiosk, new sidewalks and park restrooms.

Cemetery staff also suggested hiring additional part-time employees in a previous work meeting with the City Council.

McAffee requested the city look into acquiring additional property for another cemetery as the current ones are running out of space.

Pike said the council determined to make future improvements incrementally.

“We could have gone more,” he said, “but I think the feedback we provided to Shane and company was, ‘Let’s do what’s necessary incrementally; we don’t have to do it all at once.’”

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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13 Comments

  • NickDanger September 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

    This is a dead issue. (had to say it)

    But seriously, that is one ugly cemetery, and it’s right in the middle of town. I’d always assumed the endgame was to allow it to become so decrepit that it eventually acquired some level of spooky charm.

    That sounds like a joke too, but there is a certain charm to an old, untended cemetery. I could go either way. But a nice start to either process would be to put a fence or wall around the thing. Until you notice the tombstones it bears no resemblance at all to a cemetery. Looks more like a good place for the neighborhood kids to play ball.

  • ladybugavenger September 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I don’t care what someone does with my dead body. Wait! Let me back up! There are some sick people in this world! Don’t be a freak with my dead body! (and that just totally made me lose my thought of this article)

  • DRT September 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Wait just a minute here. Mr. McAfee stated: “is the need to go ahead and look at switching the Virgin River water to culinary water because of the damage being done to headstones and the damage to the trees that are dying in the cemetery.”
    OK, I’ve no problem understanding the damage to the headstones. But, if irrigation water is actually killing the trees, then what does it do to gardens? Does it also kill lawns?
    Also what about the push to conserve water, particularly culinary water?
    I agree the headstones is a problem that needs to be corrected. I just question the rest of this statement. If in fact it is killing vegetation, then we do need to know that.

    • DB September 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Only a guess, but I’m thinking it might be the minerals in the water that are damaging the headstones. I live next to one of our public golf courses and all vegetation looks just fine, aside for the fact that they are overseeding for winter at the moment.

  • ladybugavenger September 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    It cost too much to die. $100 increase in a fee plus a headstone and burial, imbombing, a viewing and a funeral. And then possible erosion of my headstone and my grave sinking

    Love me while I’m alive and go cheap on my death. Got a coupon for cremation? Go for it.(that’s what I was going to say earlier)

    • jigsywinnietippy12 September 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Yes ladybugavenger, death can be very expensive. I agree with everything, except ‘imbombing’ , which should be ’embalming’. Cremation is the way to go, and we won’t have to worry about sinking graves. Much cheaper for cremation, which I believe is going to be the main, future type of burial. It takes up much less space. I agree with you, I like coupons too!

      • ladybugavenger September 25, 2017 at 6:48 am

        Lol…thanks for the correction.

  • .... September 24, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Burn baby Burn

    • Real Life September 24, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Do they know that you are out?

      • .... September 24, 2017 at 11:06 pm

        Hey No Life does your mommy know your playing on her keyboard

    • ladybugavenger September 24, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Hey Dot! Good to hear from you. Did you escape?

      • .... September 24, 2017 at 11:06 pm

        Hey ladybug. ..you doing good out there ?

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