Berryville council considers voluntary cemetery tax

Sunday, August 26, 2012

BERRYVILLE -- The Berryville City Council is considering raising a voluntary property tax reserved for cemetery maintenance.

Mayor Tim McKinney brought the issue before council members at their regular monthly meeting on Aug. 22.

The tax is currently set at 0.6 mils. Though council members talked about raising it to 1 mil on Tuesday, they took no definite action. In order to change the rate, the council must submit a decision to the County by October.

The tax was approved by voters in 1976 and set at 1.75 mils. McKinney said the rate had fluctuated since then.

Last year, he said, the tax contributed $5,300 to city coffers. The amount was $6,450 in 2010, and $5,200 in 2009.

He estimated that increasing the tax to 1 mil would bring this figure up to $7,300 to $7,500 a year. This would still not come close to covering the cemetery's overall budget.

, which he estimated to be from $35,000 to $40,000 each year. However, it would help.

"That would pay for about 60 percent of one month of the cost of the maintenance contract," he said.

In recent months, the City has added a new fence and gate at the cemetery. "We have spent a lot of money lately," McKinney said, "and we'd like to start building up some reserves for future projects."

The tax is completely voluntary, and Alderman Max Nichols questioned whether raising the tax might encourage those who currently pay to stop doing so.

"My thinking on it is this: If they aren't paying it now, they won't pay it then," Alderman Joel Gibson responded. "The ones that are paying it now will go ahead and pay the difference."

"I think they're proud of the cemetery and proud of the way it's being kept up," he said, "and I think they'll go ahead and pay it."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: