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Hempstead board increases fees at Greenfield Cemetery

The Hempstead Town Board is increasing the rates

The Hempstead Town Board is increasing the rates for services at the town-owned Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale. March 9, 2017 Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hempstead Town Board has increased fees at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale.

The new fees, the first increase since 2014, include higher prices for grave sites, interments and burying cremated ashes in plots at the cemetery on Nassau Road in Uniondale. But the town-owned cemetery’s increased prices, which will go into effect April 2, remain lower than those at many other cemeteries on Long Island, experts said. The town board approved the increase at its March 7 meeting.

“I think we’re providing value for folks who do want a burial or a funeral at the town cemetery,” Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said.

According to Deery, Greenfield appears to be the only active town-operated cemetery on Long Island. “Greenfield is the only public cemetery in Long Island of which we are aware. . . . There could be some publicly owned historic cemeteries that are not in use,” he said.

The increases stem from higher costs for equipment, materials and fuel, Deery said.

Only town residents can purchase plots at Greenfield Cemetery, which is on the Hempstead Village border. About 95,000 people are buried there, including baseball Hall of Fame pitcher John Montgomery Ward and Walter Hudson, who lived in Hempstead and once held the Guinness world record for the heaviest man on earth.

Under the new fee schedule, an interment Monday through Friday will cost $1,200, up from $700. A Saturday interment increases to $1,700 from $1,000, according to prices provided by the town. A new fee of $500 will apply to interments without 24-hour notice.

The price for a single grave, which has room for two burials and one urn, increases to $2,000 from $1,500. A two-grave plot, which can hold four burials and two urns, goes up $1,000 — to $4,000 from $3,000.

“Historically speaking, they [Greenfield Cemetery prices] have always been on the lower side,” said Fred Sorrentino, owner of the Barnes-Sorrentino Funeral Home in West Hempstead. “In comparison to other cemeteries, they’re substantially lower.”

Most nonpublic cemeteries increase their costs incrementally, usually by about 2 percent, every year, said David Fleming, director of government relations for the New York State Association of Cemeteries. Nonprofit cemeteries’ prices are regulated by the state, unlike publicly owned cemeteries, but both face increasing costs, officials said.

“Towns are allowed to set whatever prices they want,” Fleming said, but noted that some of Greenfield’s prices still seemed to be low. “It’s always better in my mind to be raising rates a little bit at a time.”

At the seven Catholic cemeteries in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, a single grave lot costs $3,300, according to a price sheet dated September 2016 on its website. Grave interments are between $1,865 and $2,000 for a weekday, and from $2,260 to $2,385 on Saturdays.

— In a previous version of this story, town officials provided incorrect information about the last time they increased fees at the cemetery.

Prices at Greenfield Cemetery increase April 2

  • The cost of a single grave plot, which includes room for two burials and one urn, will cost $2,000. Its previous price was $1,500.
  • Interment on a weekday will cost $1,200, up from $700. A Saturday interment goes to $1,700 from $1,000. Interment without 24-hour notice includes an additional $500 fee.
  • Burying cremated ashes in a plot will cost $400 on a weekday and $700 on a Saturday, up from $300.

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