BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison City Council will be looking at bumping rates for cemetery services in 2019.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the council will consider a recommendation from city staff to increase the rates almost across the board.
In a memorandum prepared by City Clerk Melinda Blind, Blind said over the past twenty years staff for the parks/cemetery department has gone from six full-time and five part-time employees, including offender crews that are no longer available, to just three full-time and an average of four part-time employees throughout the year.
The proposal would move grave opening and closing services to $500 for adults from the current rate of $450. Child/infant services would also be bumped $50 and services in Babyland would be bumped $100.
The steeper rate increases will be for Saturday services and holiday/Sunday services. According to the proposal, the rate increases are intended to reduce the amount of services provided on weekends to help keep city costs down.
Services for adults will go from $850 to $1,500 on Saturday’s, a 76% increase. On Sundays and holidays the rate will go from $950 to $2,000 an increase of 111%. Saturday services for children/infants will go from $400 to $500 and on Sundays/holidays the rate will go from $600 to $900. Children/Infants in Babyland will go from $400 to $600 on Saturday’s and $600 to $1,000 on Sundays/holidays.
Other price increases will also be seen for urn vault services. There are no current charges for those services, but on Saturday, city staff is recommending a $1,200 charge and a $1,700 charge of Sundays/holidays. Blind wrote an urn vault is more than four times the size of an urn and the new charges reflect that.
Sunday/holiday services can only be performed with approval of the Public Works Director. Rate changes are also being recommended for marker installations and the reissuing of deeds.
In other action, the council will hear a final reading of a proposed change to the city fireworks ordinance. The proposal was put in front of the council in November to not allow any first or second class fireworks without a city permit. Low grade fireworks like sparklers, smoke bombs, and snakes would still allowed within the city.
Also on the agenda for the 5:30 p.m. meeting, is the purchase of two Dodge Durango police vehicles at a cost of $57,786. The vehicles will replace two Chevy Tahoes purchased four years ago. The vehicles were approved as part of the police department budget this summer.
The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.