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Cemetery Commission votes to raise price of lots, grave-digging service

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By Linda Ireland

 Inflation has impacted the cost of living – and dying.

For the first time in several years, the price of a grave at Red Hill Cemetery has increased.

At Monday’s semi-annual meeting of the Cemetery Commission, Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse recommended raising the cost of lots, grave opening and tent setting by $50 and the Commission approved the measure.

The cost of a grave opening was raised from $400 to $450; tent setting was raised from $200 to $250; and the cost of a lot was raised from $500 to $550. Lots in the Smith-Williams (front) section of the cemetery now cost $800.

Financial statement

There was some dissension in the Commission, which is composed of City Council members, when Treasurer (and City Clerk) MaDonna Hornback presented the financial statement. She explained the exact totals were not available due to the auditor’s request that several of the CDs be consolidated. 

New Commissioner Alex LaRue said the amount could have been obtained “with a phone call.” 

“This is an incomplete financial report and I cannot approve it,” he said.

LaRue, Woodie Handley and Bonni Clark voted against accepting the financial report. Jim Phelps, Kenny Devore, Glenda Wathen, Hornback, Cruse and Mary Gaines Locke voted to accept it.

Phelps later asked if the financial information could be made available prior to a City Council meeting as the Commission would not meet again until July. Hornback replied that she would mail the statements to the commissioners.

Citizen concerns

Diane Osborne said an expensive flower arrangement had been taken from her parents’ grave at Red Hill. She reported the theft to cemetery caretaker Tim Robertson, a city officer and Hornback. 

She thanked Police Chief Steve Johnson for “beefing up patrols” in the area but asked if more could be done. She suggested placing a sign advising of surveillance cameras and installing cameras in trees or inside decorations.

Johnson said officers were patrolling the cemetery before the gate was locked each evening. A couple of citations had been written to people who had gone inside the cemetery after dark. The gates are locked at night.

Cruse suggested the Commission “wait a couple of months” and see if the extra patrols are effective.

“If we need to do something else, we will,” he said.

Osborne also thanked Mayor Cruse for paving the cemetery driveway. 

Kelly Shelton requested the Commission recognize her ownership of lot 135. Shelton said another family member had installed a monument for a gravesite she owns “without her input” and she would like to have it removed.

Hornback said she has documentation that Shelton owns the lot and the Commissioners voted to approve Shelton’s request.

Red Hill Cemetery Commission meets again in July.