ST. GEORGE — The St. George City Council passed an ordinance Thursday that will bring changes to their burial lot policy effective immediately.
St. George Leisure Services Director Shane Moore said the changes have to do with three aspects of burial lots. The first change is in regard to the verbiage of the policy and clarifying what it means to purchase a lot.
“There’s this misconception that when you buy a burial lot you are buying property,” Moore told St. George News. “The property will always belong to the city. You’re buying burial rights for yourself, or your loved one, to be buried there into perpetuity.”
Since the property belongs to the city, Moore said, it’s also up to the city to maintain the property. The cost of burial rights goes toward the upkeep of the grounds and the roads.
“The reason costs rise,” Moore said, “has to do with inflation. As materials and labor costs rise, we have to raise the price of burial lots.”
The second change has to do with who may be buried in a given lot. Moore said one problem the ordinance is trying to address is people who buy multiple lots and then abandon them.
“There are some people who have bought 12 lots, for themselves and their family,” Moore said, “but then 60 years go by, and the family either forgets they have those lots, or they move away.”
Those lots, in effect, are abandoned, which results in a section of the cemetery that is unusable, Moore said.
“Yet we’re still maintaining the grounds. Cemeteries are subsidized by the city, so cemeteries do not generate property taxes.”
That’s why those who buy lots now must assign a name to the lot, Moore said. If the buyer decides at a later point that they’d like to give the plot to someone else, they will need to sell the lot back to the city. The lot would then be reassigned to someone else.
“Depending upon cost increases,” Moore said, “there may be no money exchanged.”
The third change has to do with how each lot may be used. In the past, you could only put one casket or cremains into one lot.
“But now, you can bury one casket and one cremains in a single lot,” Moore said. “Or you may also elect to bury four cremains in one lot.”
These changes are not retroactive, he said, but rather in effect as of Aug. 5.
“These changes will help us to ensure that, as the population grows, there will be burial lots for those who want them.”
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