DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Unable to overcome mounting financial woes, the board of Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque has approved a plan to transfer ownership of the cemetery to the state of Iowa.
The Linwood Cemetery Association recently made that decision when it became clear that the cemetery would soon run out of money, the Telegraph Herald reported. The board wanted to take the action before the cemetery was forced into receivership, association board member Ken Miller said.
“You can go into this receivership two different ways: voluntarily or involuntarily,” Miller said. “We went into this voluntarily. We aren’t out of money yet, but we know it’s coming. We don’t want to wake up someday and say, ‘How do we pay our employees?’”
Linwood’s general manager, Jeff Paar, said the number of burials in Dubuque is about half what it was 10 years ago as more people opt for cremation. Linwood relies on revenue brought in from burials to cover maintenance costs for its 130 acres.
The Iowa Insurance Division will oversee the transfer of control of the cemetery to the state. Division spokesman Chance McElhaney said the agency will look for possible new revenue sources and ways to reduce expenses.
Among the possibilities, McElhaney said, are that the cemetery could merge with nearby cemeteries, or the city could take over responsibility for managing it.
“It is too early to know for sure where this one will end up, and in the short run, the public is unlikely to notice any difference, as Linwood will still accept burials, still mow the grass and otherwise operate as normal,” McElhaney said.
The receivership process should take several months.
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