A grave matter

FLINT TWP. — The cost of living is going up but so is the cost of dying, particularly for anyone who passes on during the winter and is interred in a township cemetery.

The cost of digging graves during the winter is going up. Blame it on the lamentable Polar Vortex of the past two winters. Because of it, township cemeteries will see a $100 increase in grave opening costs from December 15 to March 15.

“Due to the harshness of recent winters, we’ve found it necessary to thaw our graves before opening,’’ said Genesee Valley Vault of Holly, in a letter to the township board, accounting for the need to raise winter fees.

Ground thawing increases labor and material costs of grave opening, they said. So starting Monday until mid-March, the cost of grave opening on weekdays will be $625 and the cost on Saturdays will be $675.

Frozen ground makes it harder to dig a grave below the frost line during the winter. The frost depth in Michigan is said to be about 42 inches.

On March 16, 2016, presumably when the deep freeze is over, the grave opening price will drop to $525 on weekdays and $575 on Saturdays.

The prices apply to the two cemeteries owned by the township – Cronk Cemetery on Beecher road and Bristol Cemetery on Bristol Road.

Trustee Frank Kasle asked how many burials take place each year at the cemeteries. Clerk Kim Courts said not many. Both cemeteries are pretty full, added Supervisor Karyn Miller.

Trustee George Menoutes said the comparable cost of grave opening is $1,000 at other area cemeteries.

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