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Inverness Government Center 

The price for an eternal resting place at the Inverness’ owned Oak Ridge Cemetery will not likely stay eternally the same as the city council Tuesday considers a hike in prices for some plots.

The city council will consider raising the price for a single cremation plot from the current $995 to $1,595. Each cremation plot holds one cremation urn.

The city council in 2018 increased the cost of its plots that held caskets from $995 to $1,995. Casket plots can hold two urns.

City Clerk Susan Jackson, who is overseeing the price increase proposal, said she and city staff have researched prices at other comparable cemeteries and the proposed price falls well within the range that reflect the market.

Jackson said the city didn’t increase the price of cremation plots in 2018 because none were available. They will now be available again at the 26-acre cemetery Oct. 1.

City manager Eric Williams said that customers who buy plots at the cemetery and don’t want to see price increases should consider that the price also includes maintaining the facility.  Florida requires that cemeteries are maintained indefinitely.

“When you’re talking about the cost of the lot upfront, you’re talking about the cost of the perpetual care forever,” Williams said. “The city is required to have a perpetual care fund.”

The cemetery has more than 8,600 used lots serving as internments or inurnments.

In a related Oak Ridge Cemetery issue, the city council will also vote whether to grant the cemetery’s landscaping contract to MWM Lawn & Landscaping LLC. for $43,200 annually with the option of two additional renewal years.

The city put the contract out to bid in July, 2020, and MWM Lawn & Landscaping LLC. was the sole business to respond. City staff are recommending the approval of the contract.

*In related city business, the city’s lobbying provider, Sunshine Group, will give the council a legislative update and goals for the coming year. The city has a 14-month-long contract with Sunshine Group that began in October 2019.

The lobby firm on behalf of the city this year tried to get Inverness funding for a septic to sewer project and money to help extend West Inverness Trail. Both projects passed the House and Senate but were vetoed by the governor as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.      

Williams said that lobbying money is well spent. Lobbyists such as Sunshine Group lobbied lawmakers to ensure small counties such as Citrus County also received Cares Act money. Citrus County received $6.5 million to help businesses hurt by the pandemic. The money will be shared among businesses across the county, including Inverness.

*The city council will also consider a change to its contract with Waste Management, the city’s residential and commercial waste pick up provider.

Waste Management is in the process of buying Advanced Disposal Services. To get federal approval, Waste Management is required to shed some of its business contracts, Williams told the Chronicle, including its commercial contract with Inverness. The city’s contract with Waste Management began in 1997.

As a result, Waste Management is selling its Inverness commercial contract to Canadian-based GFL Environmental.

The city could refuse the change to the contract and go out to bid to find another provider, but Williams said it is in the city’s interest to accept the change because with it offers price stability.    

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.