MARIETTA -The city of Marietta has enacted a cemetery fee increase that went into effect at the first of the year.
This increase will affect the Oak Grove Cemetery grave and cremation total costs along with the opening/closing and cremation interments total costs.
Both Mound Cemetery and Harmar Cemetery have remained the same price and have no available lots.
The total price of a grave with perpetual care in Oak Grove Cemetery has increased $175 and the total cremation costs went up by $170. The adult price for an opening and closing along with the price of cremation interments for all ages have both increased by $200.
It's the first increase of cemetery fees since 2007, according to Tom Kunz, public facilities superintendent for the city of Marietta.
Kunz was in charge of assembling data about what other entities close to Marietta were charging for their cemetery fees.
Changes in the Single Grave Cost
Effective since Jan. 1, 2013
* Previous total cost for grave and care at Oak Grove Cemetery: $550.
* Previous total cost for cremation and perpetual care at Oak Grove Cemetery: $280.
* The previous opening and closing total cost for adults and children over 8 years old: $650.
* The current cost: $850.
* Previous cremation interments cost for all ages: $225.
* Current cost: $425.
"About a year ago I did a survey of area cemeteries including Cambridge, Athens, Parkersburg and several others," Kunz said. "Out of every area I studied Marietta had the lowest cost for opening and closing and lot sales."
Jonathan Hupp, safety-service director for the city of Marietta, said the fees will help with cemetery maintenance.
"It was the mayor and I who decided to implement the increase in fees," Hupp said. "We had a considerably wet spring last year and it put a great deal of pressure on us to keep our cemeteries in good shape."
One concern for Hupp was to make sure that the new rates were set at a reasonable price, he said.
"We wanted to make sure that we lifted our fees enough to be more competitive while still remaining the best deal in town," he said. "It should have been done years ago to help keep up with the care that is needed for our cemeteries' upkeep."
Two city workers are responsible for city cemetery maintenance.
"When you have two men covering three cemeteries something has to give," Hupp said. "It just put us in a tough situation."
He is optimistic that the increase in fees will allow the opportunity to provide some support for the two workers this year.
"We are trying to create some funding to bring on some summer help," Hupp said. "Then our guys in the department can stay on top of the grass in case we see a spring similar to last year."
The overall goal of the increase in cemetery fees is to generate enough money to keep cemeteries in good shape for the families, he said.
"People want to be able to see their loved ones and we want to provide them with the best experience possible when they do," Hupp said.