ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – The cost of losing a loved one is great, emotionally and financially. Due to inflation, the price for burial plots are going up. Many cemetery associations are hoping people will donate or invest in plots as their maintenance costs are higher than ever.
For example, the Essex Junction Cemetery Association spent $900 on fuel last summer, but just two months into this season, they’ve already spent $500.
“Our funds are just running out completely,” says Essex Junction Cemetery Association’s President Phyllis Drury. She said fuel costs and grass seed are hitting them the hardest, although they’ve also faced supply chain issues when it comes to machine parts.
“They [maintenance crews] went up and spent about $30 to $50 before getting enough grass seed, and then it was going to be over $100.”
Drury says they’ve bumped the prices of plots up just a bit to keep up. Vermont Cemetery Association President Patrick Healy says others are likely considering the same.
“Many cemeteries in Vermont are expected to look nice and people expect a country club look, but don’t pay country club fees,” Healy explained.
He’s also the president of the Green Mountain Cemetery in Montpelier. They’ve cut back on mowing because of labor costs.
“It takes our crew of eight to ten people to mow our cemetery in two weeks, about ten days, now we’re down to two days of mowing,” Healy tells Channel 3.
Healy and Drury say cemetery associations are being pushed to rely on donations and volunteer time. Without those, they run the risk of more delayed maintenance
“We do have to look elsewhere for some kind of funding if we want to keep the cemeteries the way we like to see them,” Drury said.
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