City Council’s Building and Lands Committee voted Monday to increase the rate for burial of cremains at South Park Cemetery.
The increase is scheduled for July, when an increase of $50 for traditional burials also will take effect.
In January, the cemetery requested a rate increase of $100 for cremation internments, from $250 to $350 on weekdays and from $450 to $550 on Saturdays.
After a review of charges, Cemetery Sexton Mike Kirk said the cemetery found that it cost the cemetery more to perform internment services than what was charged and an increase of $100 would provide for the actual costs.
“It’s my job to try to utilize our facilities to the max,” he said. “We’re losing $100 right now and have been for quite some while.”
Councilors decided for an increase of half that amount for all days, after a compromise proposed by councilor and committee member Steve Henderson.
“I think it’s important that we try to keep abreast of our costs and try to cover our costs,” he said. “If the committee is resistant of $100, we should try $50 and see how we get along.”
In other business, the committee said plans to expand the city’s Convention Center will move forward, following Gov. Susana Martinez’s signing of House Bill 73.
As proposed, the bill will include all cities in the Convention Center Financing Act, allowing those with smaller populations to impose taxes on lodging facilities, such as hotels, for convention center maintenance and expansion.
City Manager Larry Fry said the city is in the process of attaining a copy of the version of the bill Martinez signed, as well as a copy of the ordinance enacted by Las Cruces.
Councilor Jason Perry traveled to the Roundhouse several times throughout this year’s session to lobby on behalf of the bill. While similar bills failed in previous legislative sessions, he was glad to see it signed.
“I think through a better Civic Center, we can serve the community and southeastern New Mexico,” he said.