FARMINGTON -- The Farmington City Cemetery has been officially closed to outsiders.
By a 5-0 vote on Tuesday, the city council formally amended rules and regulations for the city cemetery, which raise the cost of purchasing limited burial rights and officially close the burial ground to outsiders.
New fees for purchasing the burial rights to a plot for an adult resident have been raised from $400 to $500 and the fees for a plot for a child have been increased from $125 to $150.
In closing the cemetery to outsiders, officials are taking away a cost-saving measure for some area funeral directors, according to Mayor Scott Harbertson, who noted the burial ground was attractive to outsiders because of its low cost.
The policy amendments were adopted as cemetery lots have become increasing scarce in this community.
As part of the amended policy, city leaders also approved a buy back policy for people eager to sell existing burial rights.
The city will pay $400 for burial rights for plots adjacent to another single vacant lot and $100 for a single burial site not abutting a vacant lot.
Technically the city does not sell a plot or real estate, according to City Manager Max Forbush, only the rights to use a plot.
The shrinking amount of cemetery space has been a concern for several years for city officials, who have scrambled for possible solutions, including opening a new cemetery.
Forbush said there will be some allowances in the policy to allow longtime residents who may move late in life to be buried in the community.
The changes follow a move earlier this year by city leaders to claim unused burial rights in the city cemetery on the south end of the city. City leaders had hoped to claim as many as 180 plots from the action. Meanwhile, city leaders continue to explore options for new cemetery sites.
One other provision in the existing cemetery regulations drew some discussion.
Councilman Jim Talbot was concerned the outline limits the sale of gravesites in the cemetery to only four per immediate family.
He wondered what happens when bigger families are involved.
Forbush noted the limit to four is not new, and there is leeway for officials to exceed that limit. He suggested with the few existing lots, the limit of four is not an issue.