PLEASANT HILL — The village of Pleasant Hill is asking for a new 1-mill cemetery levy on the March 15 ballot.
Fiscal officer Karl Marko said Issue 1 is in direct response to the village continuing to lose money in the village’s Cemetery Fund.
“This is the first levy we have ever asked for for the cemetery,” Marko said.
If the levy passes, residents with a $100,000 home would pay $100 per year for five years, beginning in 2016, and first due in calendar year 2017. The levy would bring in $17,750 per year, Marko said, and only will be used for cemetery expenses.
Marko said the village spent about $6,000 more than it took in last year for the Pleasant Hill Cemetery and projects another $5,000 deficit in 2016. He said this comes from fewer burials in recent years. Marko said the village used to see about 30 burials per year, but that number has declined in the last several years, with many choosing to be buried outside the village’s cemetery.
Marko said the village makes money from the sale of lots within the cemetery, the opening and closing of the graves and pouring the foundations for the headstones, all of which are done by village employees.
With the two employees of the village, Marko said during mowing season, it would take one employee the better part of a week — 20-30 hours — to mow the cemetery. He said this is not possible, so the work must be contracted. For the upcoming season, Marko said the quote for this year’s mowing season is $551 for each time the mowing is done.
“The last few years, we have spent more on mowing than we have coming in,” Marko said.
Marko said in 2015, $25,000 was appropriated from the General Fund for the Cemetery Fund.
Manpower hours for the year generally are approximately $5,000-$6,000, Marko said, and $16,000 more for the mowing and upkeep, which all comes from the Cemetery Fund.
Marko said council also would like to begin to repair some of the headstones from the 1700s and 1800s in the cemetery with funds from the levy. If the levy does not pass, there would not be funding for the repairs, he said.
Reach Melody Vallieu at (937) 552-2131 or [email protected]