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Riverside Cemetery Discusses New Columbarium Niche Vaults

Issue Date: March 11, 2020

At the Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery meeting on Monday, March 9, Todd Schloegel, co-owner of Menominee Granite and Standard Monument Company, was present to discuss Columbarium Niche's.

A Columbarium Niche is a display vault in a wall or structure designed to hold cremation urns. It's a choice for a final disposition available at many cemeteries for cremation development of above ground crematories.

Schloegel advised, "Cremation is almost 60% of the burial market with the trend being above ground. I deal with over 300 cemeteries. They are un-intrusive, easier to mow and can be attractive. Maintenance is the number one reason why cemeteries are going to these type of cremation burials. They cost less and have less maintenance and more profit".

Schloegel offered a great price for current units due to them being discontinued, but are still good quality and appealing at a 2007 pricing structure.

The Columbariums are installed on a prepared concrete slab and for four Columbariums the cemetery would profit by $239,000. The burial is the same cost as a conventional burial.

There was a lot of discussion amongst the trustees with questions and comments including: If going with what the future is going to be, we really need to discuss and think about this. Do we dedicate this to a certain area or allow throughout the cemetery?

Treasurer Nancy Holtzberger said, "The first thing we need to do is come up with a footprint, design around it and decide if we want a garden of rest or peace and quiet or what we want. We also need to talk about the parameters for height taking into consideration what criteria we already have. We can have above ground cremations as long as it conforms to our rules. This is a long term phase we have to consider. We need to think about this, put our thoughts together and make decisions. Sometimes you have to spend some money to make more money".

Holtzberger stated, "This is time sensitive and we need to move on this. I would like to see us have a special meeting before our regular meeting to lay all this out and bring it back to the May 11 meeting and be prepared to make a decision at that time".

In his report, President Mike Swiatnicki said, "Tree trimming and removal will be taking place between now and April 15 by Bucksaw Tree Service". He also stated, "The American Legion wants to put a light pole by the flag pole but after talking with Tim Olson of Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), the Cemetery needs to send a letter asking to have the pole installed to eliminate having an archeologist present while digging at a cost of $250/hour".

"With the electrical update, we may run into the same situation and may have to have an Archeologist from Madison on site at the cost of the $250/hour while digging", Swiatnicki said. He also stated, "Since the last quote, the cost for the electrical upgrade increased by $900, but is still $5,600 less expensive then the other quote. It will now cost $5,500 instead of $4,600". He then advised that the contract has been signed and Holtzberger commented, "We can't hold off, we need to do this".

Secretary Sally Witak stated, "I am working with the Peshtigo Times for an update of the Riverside Cemetery Bi-laws, Rules and Regulations booklet and once the final proof is done we can go forward with the printing. The Peshtigo Times agreed to print the 250 booklets at the 2012 pricing of $400". Since the meeting the board postponed the printing to allow to make changes if they will be going with the Columbariums.

Holtzberger stated in her report, "The auditors were here to do the City and Cemetery audit and this year they are doing a more comprehensive audit and we may get more information and suggestions on how to do things. It may cost more, but we will get good information from it. Last year the audit cost was $1,000".

In his report, Sexton John Garon announced there were three full burials and we are now up to seven for the year. There were two grave sales, nine graves have to be filled in, there were two cremations in November and two more are coming in.

Garon said, "We have two to three times more work now than last Spring. The front needs to be fixed up and there is a lot of field work to be done". Garon was then given approval to call Marinette County to secure a jail worker for the season. He was also given approval to go forward with the purchase of one pair of chaps and two helmets. He also mentioned he used the backpack blower last year from the City and asked if it was in the budget to buy one. Swiatnicki, responded, "I will check with the City to see if we can use theirs for now when it is available and maybe in the future we can think about purchasing one".

Garon also added, he was told by the City of Peshtigo mechanic that the Gravelly engine is bad. At only four years old, Swiatnicki suggested to get a second opinion to verify if it is bad or not and get an estimate for repair. Garon will arrange with Arlows to have it looked at.

In reviewing the finance report, Schloegel noticed the operating expense for telephone of $122.00 per month and stated, "You are spending over $1,000 per year on a landline phone when you could be using a cell phone for a lot less cost or you could have all calls directed to City Hall and redirected to the Sexton". Swiatnicki agreed to check the options with the City. There is also an option of a landline service available from Cellcom for approximately $25 per month that can be used with an existing phone or can purchase a phone through Cellcom. This option could save approximately $700 per year.

In new business, it was approved for the American Legion/VFW for the Memorial Statue of Desert Storm Wars representing the last 25 years of wars. A plan of action provided by Garon was also approved outlining procedures in his absence. Holtzberger also asked if on the burial form if a check box could be added for Veterans along with the branch of service they were in so it can be sorted on the computer of who the Veterans are in the Cemetery. It will also help in locating a Veterans gravesite when people call, as well as for putting flags out on Veterans day.

The Board was pleased to announce that Amber Polzin will be a new Trustee of the Cemetery Board as well as they were happy to report that it was confirmed that Leonard Ziobron will be returning as Assistant Grounds Keeper.

The next meeting will be held Monday, May 11.


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841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
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