Reduction of ratepayer subsidy raises Hamilton burial fees


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28 June 2007

Hamilton City Council's move to reduce the ratepayer subsidy on cemetery burial fees will see a rise of several hundred dollars in fees in the coming year.

There is currently a 26 per cent subsidy on the cost of a burial plot provided by Hamilton City Council. The $1393 includes maintenance costs in perpetuity. Under the new burial fee structure, a plot purchase will rise to $2253 and will reduce the ratepayer subsidy to 8 per cent of the total cost.

The cost of a cremation at Hamilton cemetery is totally user pays without any ratepayer subsidy. Cremation costs are currently $304 and rise to $320 in the next financial year.

General manager of Council Community Service Group, Sue Duignan, says Council made a decision back in 2004 to remove the ratepayer burial subsidy over time.

"This year sees a larger amount of the subsidy being removed which in turn has meant a more significant rise in the fees. We are aware that the fee rise has caught some people by surprise, in spite of the fact that it has been consulted on and communicated as part of Council's Annual Plan process," says Ms Duignan.

The fee rise has Hamilton on par with costs in Manukau and behind what is charged in North Shore and Remuera cemeteries. A comparison with Palmerston North, shows their burial fees are considerably cheaper at $1147, however this costs includes a 48 per cent ratepayer subsidy which the Palmerston North City Council has indicated it will remove.

"Another point to consider when looking at the fees charged by Hamilton City Council is that the burial service is something that is provided for families around the region. In some cases this means city ratepayers subside the costs of burial for those who have lived outside the city," says Ms Duignan.

Name: Sue Duignan
Designation: General Manager Community Services
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6624
Mobile: 021 850037
Name: Philip Burton
Designation: General Manager Communication and Marketing
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6507
Mobile:  021 428 748
Fax (Direct): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 28 Jun 2007 12:00am