Saratoga council discusses burial plots
Town council to consider raising prices at cemetery
October 27, 2021
While it may not be affordable for some people to live in Saratoga, one can spend eternity here for nearly dirt cheap prices.
The low cost of burial plots at the Saratoga Cemetery was a point of discussion for the Saratoga Town Council during their October 19 meeting. According to Town Clerk Marie Christen, the current cost for a burial plot is $50.
“People laugh and they want to buy 20 plots because it’s so affordable,” said Christen. “I know, when my grandma passed away a couple years ago, the average price in Wisconsin was about $3,500 and so that’s what we paid to buy a plot for her.”
Christen added she had contacted other nearby municipalities with cemeteries to see what they charged for burial plots. Rawlins, as one example, charges $300 for a burial plot and a one-time payment of $250 for perpetual care. Another $20 filing charge is made with the courthouse for a total of $560. Laramie, meanwhile, charges $200 for a burial plot, a $200 one-time payment for perpetual care and a $12 filing fee for a total of $412.
The Saratoga Cemetery is one of three in Carbon County which is maintained by a special district rather than the municipality itself. This includes the Saratoga Cemetery District, the Baggs Cemetery District and the Reader Cemetery District. As special districts, they receive a significant amount of funding from property taxes. The Saratoga Cemetery District and the Reader Cemetery District each receive 3 mills annually while the Baggs Cemetery District receives .1 mills.
When the cost of burial plots was raised by Christen, Councilmember Jon Nelson said it made one wonder how the Saratoga Cemetery could afford to operate before being reminded it was a special district. Despite the cemetery being under the control of the Saratoga Cemetery District, however, the property is still owned by the Town of Saratoga. Christen said she had attended the October 12 meeting of the cemetery board and was told, due to the Town of Saratoga owning the property, it was up to the governing body to set the cost of burial plots.
While the governing body considered inviting members of the cemetery board to the next council meeting, Christen reiterated she was informed it was up to the council as to what burial plots cost. With this information, along with the Saratoga Cemetery being a special district, the question was raised if the amount of property taxes used to fund the district could be reduced if the cost of burial plots were increased.
Christen said she wasn’t sure if an increase in burial plots could mean a decrease in mills for the district, but was directed by Mayor Creed James to reach out to Carbon County Clerk Gwynn Bartlett. Another concern, this one expressed by Councilmember Ben Spaulding, was if raising the cost of burial plots would impact those who had already paid for their burial plots at Saratoga Cemetery.
The town clerk informed the governing body a number of plots at the cemetery had recently been sold by the owner at price above $50. She added the Town could not dictate how much people asked for their burial plots when sold by the owner.
No formal action was taken.
The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on November 2 at Saratoga Town Hall.