Dec 062013
 

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 27, 2013 –

Residents of East Yolo get a slightly-preferred rate to use services at the Davis public cemetery

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Sure, you want to live the rest of your life in West Sacramento. But where do you want to go after that?

West Sacramento doesn’t have a cemetery. But options for city residents looking for a final resting place became a little bit more attractive earlier this year when West Sacramento and Clarksburg joined the Davis Cemetery District. The expansion of this special governmental district came after a study by Yolo County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) and the approval of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

A News-Ledger reporter dropped in on the Davis cemetery this week, finding a sunny day replete with wild turkeys and a guinea hen strolling among the headstones. The cemetery is located along Pole Line Road in East Davis.

Gathered on the grounds of the Davis cemetery: Superintendent Joseph Cattarin,  Office Manager Susan Finkleman and Community Outreach Director Joseph Finkleman. The cemetery includes gardens, wildlife and the only natural hill (“swale”) in that city, reports Joseph Finkleman.  (News-Ledger photo)

Gathered on the grounds of the Davis cemetery: Superintendent Joseph Cattarin, Office Manager Susan Finkleman and Community Outreach Director Joseph Finkleman. The cemetery includes gardens, wildlife and the only natural hill (“swale”) in that city, reports Joseph Finkleman.
(News-Ledger photo)

Joseph Finkleman, community outreach director for the public cemetery, explained that until recently, its district was much smaller.

“It was just Davis, El Macero and a few chunks of dirt contiguous to Davis,” said Finkleman. “LAFCo did their every-five-year review of our agency, and in the process of the review, they looked at East Yolo, which had no special (cemetery) district. There will never be a cemetery there because of the (high) water table.”

So the county decided to draw Clarksburg and West Sacramento into the map.

While Davis land pay a small amount of property tax to support the cemetery (it amounts to about $2.50 per year per resident, said Finkleman), West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents won’t see their property taxes routed the same way. Instead, residents of this new part of the district will see “Tier 2” pricing when they shop for a spot at the cemetery.

“They will pay $250 – a one-time fee – regardless of the number of plots they’re arranging for,” said Finkleman. “Our lowest-end service is a scattering (of ashes) in our cemetery. We have scattering gardens, and we actually place the cremains in as many flower gardens as we can. There’s also a memorialization included – a very small stone about brick-sized. That’s $440, plus the $250 fee (for residents from new areas of the district).”

A traditional single burial with a Titan “fully-sealed” container costs $4,886 for the same customers.

The cemetery also offers other services – including a “green burial” in which the body is encouraged to “return to the earth” in a biodegradable container or shroud ($4,057).

“Green burial is one of the only reasons people with no affinity for this cemetery district would want to be buried here,” added Susan Finkleman, the cemetery’s office manager. “We are one of the few public cemeteries that will do green burials.”

The “public” Davis cemetery will accept clients from outside the district, for a $500 additional fee instead of the $250 fee to be paid by West Sacramento and Clarksburg clients. All fees include an “endowment” charge that go into a fund meant to keep maintaining the cemetery even after it is filled and closed.

“We sit on 28 acres,” said Finkleman. “We have almost 20 acres of undeveloped land. At the rate we’re utilizing the cemetery, we have enough space for somewhere between 300 and a thousand years.”

Finkleman said he believes the prices at the Davis Cemetery are generally lower than those at private facilities (Susan Finkleman reports that 45 percent of its budget is subsidized by property taxes). As a public cemetery, the Davis facility has no funeral home of its own, no above-ground mausoleums and does not allow separate burial of pets – although Fido’s ashes can sometimes be included along with his owner’s burial if desired.

The facility boasts several flower gardens, a labyrinth, an arboretum, indoor rotating art galley and abundant wildlife.

For more information, visit www.daviscemetery.org, call (530) 756-7807 or email cemetery@dcn.org.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke