Proposal seeks use of vaults for burial in Girard Cemetery

GIRARD -- The city sexton is proposing the construction of mausoleums in Girard Cemetery as a moneymaking venture.
"People in Girard want to be buried in Girard," Brian Maynard, city employee in charge of the cemetery, told lawmakers before Monday's council session.
Maynard explained that because there's no more room in the city-owned cemetery for ground burials and land is expensive, burying the dead above ground is a viable alternative. No action was taken, and the proposal was referred to council's building, grounds, recreation and cemetery committee.
Meanwhile, Maynard was encouraged to place the idea in church bulletins to determine if there is a market for mausoleums.
In talking with those who construct and operate mausoleums, Maynard said the city can realize an estimated $209,000 profit with the construction of a 96-vault facility.
There is room in the cemetery for seven mausoleums, he added.
Maynard explained that construction cost and the price of a lift to place the bodies in a multilevel mausoleum is $106,000. The initial outlay for the financially strapped city can be generated with the pre-sale of vaults.
State law, he explained, allows vaults to be pre-sold and the advance money placed in escrow for three years. The collateral is kept until enough is raised to pay the construction costs.
If a person dies before the mausoleum is completed, the money is returned. One of the selling points, Maynard noted, is that a ground burial for a couple is about the same as a two-vault burial.
In other business, Lawmakers moved to the second of three readings an ordinance authorizing advertising for bids for an appraisal of Girard Lakes.
However, legislation to enter an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to breach the lower-lake dam was postponed until council's Sept. 9 meeting.
The administration is proposing the breaching of the concrete dam because a government study has shown it could fail. The city has a $1.1 million grant set aside to deal with the dam.
Councilman Charles Doran, D-4th, asked for the delay on the legislation because he wants to explore alternatives to breaching.
Councilwoman Kathleen O'Connell Sauline, D-2nd, and Councilmen Joseph Lambert, D-at large, and Renny Paolone, D-1st, cautioned that the city must make a decision soon.
Lambert pointed out the city stands to lose the $1.1 million if a decision is not made.
Problems feared
The delay also came after city resident Jim Coates, a major property owner around the lakes, said breaching could cause problems.
Lowering the water would create problems with mosquitoes and bacteria because septic systems empty into the lower lake, and the grant money could be used to rebuild the structure.

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