Grave fees going up at cemeteries
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:00 AM
Being buried on weekends and after 3 p.m. on weekdays in Philadelphia will come at a premium after aldermen agreed to raise fees.
Cemetery Manager Larry McKinney had recommenced discontinuing weekend burials and any after 3 p.m. on weekdays, but the Mayor and Board of Aldermen settled on raising fees after the motion to discontinue burials at certain times died in a 2-3 vote last week.
After a lengthy discussion, aldermen agreed unanimously to raise the burial at Cedarlawn and Eastlawn cemeteries from $400 to $500 after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from $400 to $600 on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
Donald Rest Cemetery would not be affected as funeral homes customarily provide the services there, aldermen said.
Ward 1 Alderman Josh Gamblin made the motion to discontinue the weekend burials, which was seconded by Alderman-at-Large Willie Jackson. The other three aldermen, Jim Fulton of Ward 2, James Tatum of Ward 3 and Cecil Nichols of Ward 4, voted against the motion.
Gamblin said the cemetery department was going to be over budget for the fiscal year and told aldermen that McKinney was "trying to fix it."
The weekend burials result in overtime pay for city employees, Gamblin said.
McKinney told aldermen that John E. Stephens Chapel Funeral Home in Philadelphia supported the change in policy.
Fulton raised concerns that other funeral homes, including ones in other cities, may not be in favor of the change.
Nichols also voiced concerns, saying the cemetery department was serving people at a critical time in their lives.
"If I have a death in my family, you're going to tell me I can't bury on Sunday?" Nichols asked, noting that a family with a deceased member on Friday would want him or her buried by Sunday.
Internment fees for cremation will increase from $100 to $150 on Monday through Friday and to $200 on Saturday and Sunday.
In other action last week, aldermen:
Accepted a $550.50 bid by Daniel Bozeman for the sale of a 1995 Chevy pick-up.
Accepted a $25 bid from Scotty's Recycling for a storage tank at the landfill.
Approved a request to rezone the "old jail" located on Myrtle Street from Commercial-2 to Residential-1.
Approved a road bore by C-Spire across Myrtle Street to the Tyler Construction Group building at 203 West Beacon Street.
Approved a street light at the corner of S. Donald and Christine.
Approved for the mayor, aldermen, City Clerk and Court Clerk to attend the 2014 Mississippi Municipal League Conference in Biloxi on June 23-26 and pay registration fees and travel expenses.
Approve for Police Officer Patrick Burt to attend a National Child Safety Certification Training Class in Biloxi on May 21-23 and pay registration fee and travel expenses.
Accepted the resignation of Mark Gore and Josh Jolly from the Police Department.
Declared the three city cars as surplus to be advertised for sale.
Approved a resolution for a Community Development Block G rant on the old Booker T. Washington building, with 50 percent funds provided by the city.
Employed two summer workers at minimum wage.
Declared several items in the Fire Department as surplus and transferred them to the City of Union Fire Department.
Approved a road bore by AT&T along/across Main Street and Church Avenue at the request of AT&T.
Approved a contract with Waggoner Engineering for the police building grant.
Allowed the state Department of Transportation to burn debris at the landfill.
Went into an executive session to discuss an industrial matter.
Approved a contract with Pinebelt, Inc. for the sale of approximately one acre of land located on Pecan Ave next to the old U. S. Motors building.