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Dying in the City of Williamsburg just got more expensive.
The Williamsburg City Council approved increases to interment fees for Cedar Grove Cemetery on South Henry Street. The move was the first adjustment to the cemetery’s fee schedule since 1997.
The vote confirmed a move by City Manager Jack Tuttle to nearly double the fees at the cemetery, which is owned by the city.
Effective June 1, the cost of a single space at Cedar Grove increased from $350 to $600. The rate for one-third of a lot — two graves — grew from $700 to $1,200. The price of a three-grave half lot went up from $1,050 to $1,800, and the cost of a full lot – six graves – increased from $2,000 to $3,600.
Grave opening and closing costs also increased by $200 each. A full list of the changes is available here.
In a memo to the City Council, Tuttle said the increases were necessary to cover the cemetery’s rising cost of operations.
The city earmarked $67,500 in its fiscal year 2016 budget for the cemetery, but projects a 10-year average annual revenue of $36,060. Tuttle said raising the cemetery’s fees would increase revenues by 55 to 60 percent.
Despite the increases, the cost of interment at Cedar Grove remains lower than other area cemeteries. Costs of grave spaces at other regional cemeteries include:
- Williamsburg Memorial Park: $1,295-$1,895
- Peninsula Memorial Park: $3,800
- City of West Point: $2,000 (nonresident)
- City of Norfolk: $930-$2,400
- Princess Anne Memorial: $2,800-$3,200
- Hollywood Cemetery: $1,500-$5,000
City Council members pointed to the city’s comparatively cheaper position — even with the fee increase — as a reason to support the move.
“The fee comparison is pretty telling,” Councilman Scott Foster said. “[The cemetery] is certainly a benefit to folks who live in the city. You can see in most cases, we’re less than half, so I’m not uncomfortable with bumping this up.”
Councilman Doug Pons agreed, adding that keeping the price lower than other cemeteries in the region maintained Cedar Grove’s position as a public benefit.
“I think we’re still in a comfortable position with this fee increase,” Pons said.
While there are several historic grave sites in the city, Cedar Grove is the only functioning cemetery in the city limits.
Spaces in the 20-acre cemetery are open to residents who reside in the city and former 10-year city residents. A memorial garden in the cemetery is available for cremains and does not have a residency requirement.
The cemetery was purchased by the city in the 1850s and has remained municipally owned and operated since.