Burial permit fees to increase

The cost of dying continues to rise for Guelph-Eramosa residents.

Last year the township approved burial price increases  – from $700 to $790 (up 14%) for full-size interments and from $310 to $390 (up 26%) for cremation burials – at the Rockwood cemetery.

Combined with the implementation of the HST last summer, which added an extra 8% tax on funeral services, the move resulted in significant hikes for anyone planning a local funeral.

And next month, Guelph-Eramosa council is expected to pass a new fees and services bylaw that will double the cost (from $10 to $20) for burial permit fees for residents of the municipality. Those from outside the township will see burial permit fees increase from $15 to $20.

In a report to council on Aug. 2 clerk Meaghen Reid explained the new burial fees are “comparable to other municipalities surveyed and the clerk’s office has discussed this fee increase with the local funeral home.”

The burial increases were among many fee changes proposed in Reid’s report – all of which, Mayor Chris White opined, are reasonable.

“This isn’t a money maker; it’s a cost recovery issue,” White said last week.

Other major changes proposed in the new fees and charges bylaw include:

– a new administration  charge of $10 for certifying documents;

– increasing by 14% or $50 the charge for receiving council agendas by mail (from $350 to $400 per year);

– increasing by 50% or $50 the charge for council minutes by mail (from $100 to $150 annually);

– increasing from $50 “plus costs” to $400 the fee for Line Fence Act applications, as well as a 200% increase, from $50 to $150, for Line Fence Act appeals;

– a 54% increase in the drainage inspection fee (from $65 to $100);

– a 33% increase, from $60 to $80, in the fee for compliance letters;

– increasing by 50%, from $500 to $750, the fee for water-sewer servicing agreements;

– new combined fees of $500 (non-refundable) and $1,000 (refundable) for minor site plan amendments;

– a 20% increase, from $25 to $30, in the fee for tax certificates;

– a 200% increase, from $50 to $150, in the inspection fee for residential entrance permits (the $1,000 deposit remains unchanged);

– a 133% increase, from $15 to $35, in the cost to replace 911 emergency number signs (plus a new $15 fee if a post is required);

– a new $165 fee for after-hours emergency water shut-offs; and

– a new $35 charge for repeat water meter readings.

Other than a few questions about semantics in the section pertaining to dog licences, councillors had little discussion on the proposed changes.

They unanimously agreed to consider passing the bylaw at its next meeting on Sept. 6.