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The cost to rest in peace in Cairo could soon get a little more expensive.
Cairo city manager Chris Addleton has included in his proposed budget for 2020-2021 an increase in the per lot cost of a cemetery plot in City of Cairo cemeteries.
The city manager is not proposing a tax hike or increase in utility rates in the next fiscal year, but he said it has been many years since the city adjusted the cost of cemetery lots and in comparison with surrounding communities the cost of local cemetery lots are too low.
Addleton is proposing the council consider increasing lot prices to an even $300 per lot. Currently, lots at Forest Lawn Cemetery are sold for $250 each, while lots in Greenwood, Crestview and Cairo Cemeteries are all $200 each. Addleton notes that Greenwood Cemetery is sold out, but space remains at Crestview and Cairo Cemeteries and additional lots will be available when Phase B of Forest Lawn Cemetery is opened.
Addleton said he did not want to see city cemeteries fill up with out-of-county residents and the city left paying to maintain the cemeteries. “We sell to anybody and everybody,” Addleton said.
Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Cox asked the ethics of restricting the sale of lots to local residents or if that was even legal to do. Addleton said the city never had sought to limit sales to out-of-county residents, but he said he did think the rates should be brought in line with neighboring communities.
“With the exception of Camilla, we are at the bottom of the list,” Addleton said.
Current rates charged in other nearby cities are: Bainbridge – $300; Camilla – $150; Fitzgerald – $325; Havana – $475; Moultrie – $425; and Thomasville – $450.
The mayor pro tem asked when the proposed increase would go into effect. Addleton said if the price increase is included in the city’s final budget then the new rates would go into effect July 1, 2020.
None of the councilmen committed to back the proposal or oppose it.