Mystery cemetery fee in Yerington may get dropped

YERINGTON - Getting buried in Mason Valley or Smith Valley will cost $200 less if the Lyon County Commission drops a "perpetual care" fee that nobody can explain.

The commission on Thursday will look into formally adopting the Yerington Cemetery Board's unanimous recommendation to stop charging this fee at the Yerington and Elm Tree (Missouri Flats) cemeteries. The same fee is in place at the Smith Valley Cemetery.

County officials scrounged through agendas and other records but could find no documentation on how the $200 fee was put in place, said Karen Howard, senior administrative clerk in the Lyon County Public Works Department.

"I'm not really sure how it started," Howard said.

Dropping the perpetual care fee is the last step in a year-long process to standardize rules and regulations at Lyon County's cemeteries. Previously, each had its own fee structure and policies. Cemeteries in Dayton, Fernley, Silver Springs and Silver City have no perpetual care fee.

The first record of the perpetual care fee dates to 1987, though nobody seems to know how or when the fee was imposed. County officials could not determine that the county commission ever approved the fee.

Connie Rosaschi and Roberta Garanet joined the cemetery board six months ago and raised eyebrows when they questioned the fee.

"One of the new members asked what the perpetual care fee was and why was it being charged," Howard said. "So we started looking into it. As much as we looked, nobody could find out when it was (approved by the commission)."

One board member said as far as he was concerned the fee was never officially approved.

"The plot fee covers perpetual care as far as I'm concerned," the board member said. "When you buy your plot, it covers perpetual care."

The plot fee for Lyon County cemeteries is $500 and, for at least the past 12 years, another $200 was added on to the bill at Yerington, Elm Tree and Smith Valley.

The perpetual care fee will likely be rescinded Thursday and ultimately dropped from cemetery charges in a couple weeks, Lyon County Manager Steve Snyder said.

"I haven't heard any dissension (from commissioners)," Snyder said.

The loss of 28 percent of the revenue from each plot-and-perpetual care charge will not hurt cemetery budgets because the cemeteries operate from the county general fund, Snyder said.


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