Rates and fees for using the Rosedale and Moose Jaw cemeteries will increase by two per cent next year as the parks and recreation committee attempts to handle increasing operational costs.
The increase will affect several areas, including:
- Adult and veteran traditional grave licence
- Traditional burial, traditional child and cremation burial openings and closings
- Burial vault handling
- Child grave licence
- Niche bottom row
- Outdoor columbarium niche opening and closing and disinterment fees
- Scattering fees
- Scattering memorialization fee
- After hours surcharges
Meanwhile, single and double cremation licences, veteran cremation licences, niche memorialization and miscellaneous rates will not change since they remain near or above the provincial averages, said a city council report.
As of Oct. 12, when the parks and rec department presented the report to council, there had been 31 full burials and 109 cremations.
Meanwhile, since 2017, there has been an average of 44 full burials and 112 cremations.
“Most burials are cremations and the cost for opening and closing of cremation burials is considerably less than for a full casket burial,” the report continued. “As cremation burials become the more popular burial option, less revenue is being received for the operation of the cemetery.
“With this trend, it has been necessary to specifically increase the fees for completing cremation interments to ensure adequate levels of cost recovery are achieved.”
An adult traditional grave licence will increase by $33 to $1,703; a veteran traditional grave licence will jump by $15 to $765 and opening and closing of traditional burials will increase by $23 to $1,187.
The opening and closing for cremation burials will increase by $7 to $355, while a columbarium niche on the bottom row will jump by $48 to $2,432.
The parks and rec department expects next year that revenues will be $327,200 and expenses will be $346,000, leading to a deficit of $18,800. However, the department expects to recover 95 per cent of all costs.
“It’s important for people to remember that when we talk about these rates, cemeteries need to be upkept forever. It does take a lot of maintenance,” said Coun. Heather Eby.
“We’ve all had complaints in the past that people would like us to do more and make the cemeteries even more beautiful. There is money required to do so. These (rate) increases are good. I hope over time we can put resources into these places at all times of the year.”
Council later voted unanimously to adopt the 2022 rate increases for Moose Jaw’s cemeteries.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, Oct. 25.