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04/12/2012

Council approves Riverside Cemetery plan update, fee increases, and funding for stone-wall extension


The Town Council on April 9, 2012 adopted a new master plan for the Riverside Cemetery, along with an increase in fees and a $45,000 appropriation to extend a stone-wall buffer that fronts Route 77.

Councilors unanimously approved the master-plan update after a public hearing, praising the cemetery's board of trustees, and planning consultant Mohr & Seredin , for their work. "I think this plan is very well done and shows I think very appropriate and excellent foresight," said Councilor Jessica Sullivan.

The fee increases apply to burials and lots, and will take effect Sept. 1, 2012. Cost for a full-size lot will increase from $650 to $750; and cremation lots will increase from $300 to $400.

Another fee increase, to take effect immediately, will set the foundation placement price at 95 cents per square inch, up from the previous 80 cents.

The increases are intend end to bring fees for burials in Cape Elizabeth closer to what is charged in surrounding communities, said Councilor Frank Governali, liaison to the board of trustees.

Town Manager Michael McGovern said the increases should help the cemetery meet its operating costs, but are unlikely to help financially in the long term as long as interest rates remain low. The cemetery's perpetual-care fund balance at the end of fiscal 2011 was $347,902, down $7,327 from the previous year, McGovern said in a telephone interview.

"I think it's a great plan and I commend everyone for coming up with the proper solutions that are frugal and yet necessary," said Council Chairwoman Sara Lennon.

In all there are six recommendations for improvements outlined in the plan, all intended to address identified needs and maintain the Riverside Cemetery's desirability as a final resting place:

  • Buffering between burial plots and the maintenance building
  • Extended buffering between Route 77 and the cemetery (stone wall)
  • Additional tree plantings in the open areas of the cemetery
  • Plot layout for 'Phase 5' area (outermost western edge)
  • 'Niche Wall' for cremation remains and improved circle for the central flag area
  • Control of invasive plants and improved views to the Spurwink Marsh