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Council approves cemetery policies

By By Adam Prestridge
There will be several policies family members will have to abide by should they have to deal with the loss of a loved one in Atmore.
Monday afternoon, the Atmore City Council approved several recommendations brought forth by the city's Cemetery Committee. The committee oversees policies at both Oak Hill Cemetery and Fairview Cemetery.
Among the changes was the increase in cost for burial spaces and perpetual care for both residents of Atmore and out-of-town residents. The cost for burial permits for non-residents also increased.
For residents, the cost for burial spaces was increased from $100 to $200, the cost for perpetual care was upped from $60 to $75 and the price for a burial permit remained the same at $25. The non-resident price for burial spaces jumped from $150 to $400, perpetual care was increased $30 from $120 to $150 and burial permits were doubled from $25 to $50.
"They (Cemetery Committee) did a survey of surrounding towns and found that all of these numbers are still considerably lower than our surrounding towns," Atmore mayor Howard Shell said.
All price increases were unanimously approved as was the recommendation to not allow new shrubs, trees or fences in the cemetery and the ones already there be grandfathered in and those be trimmed and manicured.
"Normally the people that put them out maintain them, but we have a lot of them that were planted years ago and there are no longer any family members in town," Shell said. "When that happens then we send some of our crews out there to cut them back and get them out of the streets."
The third proposal from the Cemetery Committee was that no more than two cremation urns could be allowed in the same grave space with a flat marker being placed on each cremation space. Even though there were some concerns from councilman John Watkins regarding the size of plot offered for cremations, the proposal was passed.
"I think they talked to some other people that do this on a professional basis and have crematoriums and that's where they got their recommendation from," Shell said. "We might want to start with this and if we need to modify it at some point, then do so. We have not been presented with that situation, but I think they are trying to anticipate any needs that might come up so we'll have some guidelines to go by."
Watkins felt that the sizes should be different.
"I don't think we should sell the same size burial space for cremation as we do for regular burials," Watkins said.
Although tabled during the Cemetery Committee's recent meeting, Shell also shared with the council a possible recommendation once all the kinks are ironed out.
"They had a recommendation that some type of identification be made at the different streets that we have in the cemeteries to make it easier for out-of-town relatives to be able to locate cemetery plots, which is a good suggestion," Shell said. "They are still trying to reach a consensus on exactly how that would be addressed."
In other business, the council: