FERMANAGH and Omagh rate payers can expect to pay more for cemetery charges in the new financial year.
Members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Environmental Services Committee met last night (Wednesday) to consider a report recommending a 3 per cent increase in cemetery charges including the purchase of right of burial, internment and the erection of memorial.
The largest anticipated increase however, would be for exhumations, which the report recommended be increased to one single fee of £965.
The annual review of Cemetery, Equipment Hire and Maintenance Charges noted that many of the charges for Council services “do not cover for the actual incurred cost to the Council”.
With the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate sitting at 3 per cent in January 2018, the paper recommended that many of the services listed have their fees increased in line with this.
“A review of other Council areas reveals that Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s cemetery charges whilst not the cheapest are lower than most other Councils,” said the report.
“In regard to exhumation fees and based on a recent exhumation event, the direct charges to the Council have been calculated at £965. When compared to other Councils (Derry City and Strabane - £1,100 and Belfast City Council - £4,080) our current charge of £327 (non-residents) and £164 (residents) is considered too low.”
The report says that one single exhumation fee of £965 will cover the Council’s incurred cost.
All other cemetery costs, it recommends, should be increased by the CPI rate.
The Council has a range of equipment for general hire and use for both the public and departments within the Council.
This equipment ranges from marquees to portable toilets and crowd barriers.
It was proposed in the report that hire charges with collection from the depot be increased by the CPI rate.
Specialist Hire of a suction sweeper would also increase by 3 per cent.
However, the fixed rate of £80 for the Santa Train and staff was proposed to remain unchanged.
“With the increasing costs that the Council continue to experience it is important to review charging to ensure that incurred costs are offset as fair and as reasonably practicable to our customers,” says the report.
“The increase in charges will cover actual incurred costs ensuring that the service provided remains sustainable.”
Any decision made by the committee last night will have to be ratified by the forthcoming monthly meeting of the Council.