FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With cemetery fees last being set in 2009, City Council heard a presentation and set to increase rates for 2020.
During a presentation at the Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting on Monday, June 10th, 2019 Catherine Berris of Urban Systems presented the principals used for setting fees and charges for the cemetery, reviewing options and a proposed table of fees from 2010 to 2025.
Councillor Klassen removed himself from both the COW and regular council meeting due to conflict of interest as he is employed by the local funeral home.
The last update to the fees and charges for cemetery services in FSJ was in 2009, which compared to the communities Dawson Creek, Grande Prairie, Terrace and Yellowknife are half of the average cost to users.
With the ‘Adult Plot’ being used as an example during the presentation and then referenced during the regular Council meeting, the current fee is set at $400 whereas a combined average shows $670.
The presentation shared cemetery operations are currently subsidized 50-65 percent which are due to increase due to additional operational and capital costs as outlined in the 2016 Cemetery Master Plan. In order to break even, fee increases would need to be 20 percent annually to break even in 10 years or 10.5 percent annually to break even in 20 years.
During the presentation, four options were shared as a way to increase fees.
Council made a resolution based off of Option 2b to increase the current cemetery fees to meet the comparable community average in 2020, followed by an annual increase of 5 percent plus CPI for 2021 and beyond.