The village's Cemetery Rules a...
HOLLY, Michigan – A significant demand for cemetery plots in the older sections of Lakeside Cemetery coupled with the absence of a “buyback” policy for unused plots prompted Clerk/Treasurer Cathy Behrens to suggest that council members amend the village’s Cemetery Rules and Regulations, a policy adopted in May of 1985.
The matter was discussed at the Aug. 13 Village Council meeting.
“What we’re finding is some people have actual plots that they wish to sell back,” Behrens said, adding that her research indicates several neighboring municipalities already have policies or ordinances in place.
“We feel that we have the potential to resell them – many of these lots were bought for $150 50 years ago, that we would offer to buy them back,” she said.
Behrens said it was staff’s recommendation that council adopt a policy in which the village offers to repurchase unused plots for the price that was originally paid, then sell them at current market value.
Clerk/Treasurer Cathrene Behre...
“Today, cemetery plots sell for $600, so we would remarket them at the current value, obviously as people come in and request for certain plots,” Behrens said.
Cemetery employees, Behrens said, have noted a great deal of interest in the older sections of the cemetery. “Because there are so many trees, we have limited space there,” she said. “But currently we have two people on the list looking to sell four plots that were sold several years ago.”
Without a policy currently in place, Behrens said many people wishing to unload their unused plots look to eBay or other means. “Certainly people are still allowed to do that, but having a policy, the village could then offer to buy it back at the original cost.”
Councilwoman Jackie Campbell disagreed, saying that the village should buy plots back at the current market value.
“It’s like a vested interest of the people,” Campbell said of long-term ownership of the plots.
Behrens said in other municipalities like Milford, Rose and Holly Townships, it was common practice to buy plots back for the price that was originally paid.
Councilman George Kullis supported Behren’s recommendation. “If it makes it easier for somebody to just come to the village and they’re willing to sell it back to us for what they paid for it, it sounds to me like we’re then offering them a service,” he said. “It falls under the category of one-stop shopping – if they’re willing to sell it, that’s their choice.”
Councilman Ryan Bladzik agreed.
“If you can buy a cemetery plot for $600 today and you know that maybe the rates are going to be going up to $800 in a year or two, then you’re speculating,” he said. “I would just rather not open up the door for it entirely – I think that the voluntary buyback at purchase price just keeps everything at zero.”
In a vote of 6-1, council approved the buyback policy with Campbell casting the dissenting vote.