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Langley may raise cemetery plot prices for Woodmen Cemetery

LANGLEY — Death may get a little more expensive in Langley.

The city is considering raising the price of cemetery plots at the historic Woodmen Cemetery. The plots cost $600 and the cemetery board recommended to the city council an increase to $725 to help cover increasing maintenance costs.

However, city council members said at Wednesday’s council meeting that the proposed increase may not be enough.

Councilman Robert Gilman said that an even higher hike would be worth consideration. Clerk/treasurer Debbie Mahler agreed.

“Off island, it’s a minimum of $2,000 per plot,” she said.

Councilwoman Rene Neff, who is the council liaison to the cemetery board, said the relatively small increase was to prevent sticker shock.

“We wanted to keep it an affordable choice,” she said.

The city council asked for more research on how much cemeteries charge.

However, the Langley cemetery is more pricey than other local cemeteries already. According to Visser Funeral Home, Bayview Cemetery charges $475 and the Coupeville Cemetery charges $500. Roy Simmons, president of the Clinton Cemetery Association, said a plot at the Clinton site is also $500.

Financing for the Langley cemetery has been tenuous in recent years. Mahler said the cemetery funding is difficult to budget because the city can never anticipate how many people will buy plots each year and the number fluctuates greatly.

For the past few years, the Friends of Woodmen Cemetery paid for maintenance and mowing, but Neff said the group has decided not to do it anymore.

The city now has to contract for maintenance and pay for it from the cemetery fund that is fed from plot sales and donations.

In recent months, the cemetery board has worked on increasing its visibility in the community.

A new brochure was printed that also offers services such as “green burials.” Interment of the bodies is done in a bio-degradable casket, shroud or a favorite blanket.

Neff also said people should be aware that they need to donate to the city’s cemetery fund and not to the Friends of Woodmen Cemetery if they want to contribute to maintenance.

For more information, or to donate, call Mahler at 221-4246.

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