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Deniliquin cemetery fee reduction

Deniliquin Council has scaled back proposed rises in its cemetery fees for the 2014/15 year.

TYLA HARRINGTON June 27, 2014 3:25am

Deniliquin Council has reduced its proposed cemetery rate increase for the 2014/15 year.

In adopting its 2014/15 budget on Wednesday night, council decided to still increase the cemetery fees and charges but in most cases by a smaller amount than what was proposed.

When the draft budget was initially released, Deniliquin funeral directors Geoff and Glenda Coulter said the rises were too much and called on council to review them.

Columbarium perpetual lease fees have now risen from $154 in 2013/14 to $220 in 2014/15, compared to the proposed $250.

For council to reopen a grave in the general cemetery, the fee has risen from $763 to $950 instead of the proposed $1000.

To reopen a grave in the lawn cemetery, the fee has gone from $650 to $900 compared to the proposed $1000.

The penalty rate for weekend and public holiday services has been increased from what was originally proposed in the draft budget. It has jumped from $215 in 2013/14 to $300 in 2014/15, instead of the proposed $250.

Director of corporate services Terri Maguire said a review of the cemetery fees and charges identified ‘‘the cost of burials is not being fully recovered for this service’’.

‘‘The costing records for this financial year have been reviewed for labour, plant hire and material usage charged to burials in both the general and the lawn cemeteries,’’ she said in her report presented to council on Wednesday.

‘‘Some of the charges for cemetery fees and charges are adequate but the burial costs and the penalty rates for weekends and public holidays are not being fully recovered.

‘‘This service should be casted at full cost recovery including all overheads associated with the staff carrying out the work.

‘‘Plant hire costs should also be taken into account for 100 per cent of the time that the plant item is at the cemetery.

‘‘Materials such as sand and soil should also be charged to the cost of the burial.’’

Ms Maguire said the fee increases have been calculated to ‘‘increase fees gradually for all fees below the cost of the service provided, with other fees increasing by a minimal amount’’.

‘‘The state award penalty rates and salary increases cannot be avoided and the cost of providing this service will increase yearly,’’ she said.

‘‘Council will need to consider if the burial service we are providing is to be fully recovered or to be borne by the other ratepayers in the community.’’

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