MACo Backs Bill to Encourage Upkeep of Cemeteries

MACo Associate Director, Natasha Mehu, provided testimony in support of House Bill 235, “Abandoned Private Cemeteries – Repair or Maintenance by County or Municipality,”  before the House Environmental and Transportation Committee on February 7, 2017.

HB 235 authorizes local governments to enact a local law allowing a lien to be set on abandoned private cemeteries for unpaid maintenance, repair, or preservation work performed by the government on the property.

From MACo testimony:

Under current law, there is no mechanism for local governments to recoup the costs for these services from the owner of the cemetery. Local governments that would like to remedy or restore abandoned private cemeteries may only raise money to perform the services themselves, or rely on charitable organizations and community service volunteers. This bill creates a mechanism for local governments to offset the costs associated with preserving these abandoned properties while ensuring that the owner of the property is also invested.

Local governments share interest in maintaining the integrity of burial sites within their communities, many of which have historical or cultural significance.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.